The breakfast crowd was thinning out. I sipped my second cup of coffee as my spouse talked about the sermon at the church we’d visited last Sunday. Gary, our friend since 2005, was sopping up syrup with the last bites of pancake.
He said, “We have a group of guys that get together at my church and bitch. Not really bitch. We talk about problems.”
Gary explained, “One guy will bring up problems with his wife, another guy will say this or that about his kids.”
I said, “You could look in the scriptures to see what it says about the problem.”
“We don’t want to have a bible study group.” He held an invisible bible in his hands and exaggerated the movements of searching for a particular verse.
“Then you are men with problems talking to other men with problems,” I said.
“When someone brings up a problem the others will say what they’ve done when they had the same kinda problem.”
Normally, I’m not one to challenge another’s personal choices. In this case, I could not let what Gary was describing go unchallenged.
“The blind leading the blind,” I said.
My spouse, uncomfortable with my bluntness, said, “Go get your own class!”
Ignoring that suggestion, I said to Gary, “You may as well meet in a bar.”
“That wouldn’t work,” he replied.
“The answers to life’s problems are in the bible.”
Gary extended his arms above his plate of cold bacon and spread his hands farther and farther apart. “We want to keep bible study and our men’s group separate.”
Had he heard what he’d said? I smiled sadly and met his steady gaze.
While I confess that my manner wasn’t encouraging or empathetic as I’d hope, I can’t think of a time when suggesting someone consult the bible for guidance would be a bad idea.
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit moves Gary and his group to realize that without seeking His guidance, they are attempting to put themselves above God. . . Also, I pray that I learn to become better at speaking the truth in love.
Thank you, Jesus.