How to Turn Your Greatest Weakness into a Great Strength
- Thursday, June 24, 2004
I was sitting in Los Angeles airport waiting to fly to Nashville, and offered a tract to a large man who was sitting two seats away from me. He coldly said, "Keep it." I put it back in my pocket and then offered him another tract. Most take this one if they refuse the first. It looks like a business card, but it says, "Department of Annoyance...Director." It makes the first offer make sense.
I deepen my voice and say, "This is where I'm from..." and hand it to them. The air of authority makes them take it, and almost everyone laughs when they see the "annoyance" part. Not this man. He just said, "Keep it." A moment later he got up and left and a younger man took his seat.
I have learned that if someone throws you off, you have to find another horse and get right back into the saddle. So I ignored my sense of rejection and the fear of it happening a second time, and I slid a million dollar bill across the seat, saying, "Here's a million dollars for you...it's great when you get the change."
This man burst out laughing. That made me feel good, so I asked, "Where are you from?" He was from Texas and he was going back home for his father's surprise 50th birthday party. He had been in Los Angeles for five months pursuing an acting career, working as a waiter in a Hollywood hotel.
I told him that I co-hosted a TV program with the actor Kirk Cameron. When he said that he had actually seen the program, I asked if he'd had a Christian background. "Catholic." I asked, "Have you been 'born again'—do you know what that means?" He answered, "That's when you believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and you ask Him into your heart. I believe all that."
I explained that the difference between believing that Jesus died for you and trusting in Him was like the difference between believing in a parachute and putting it on. I said, "You know what helped me? It was this little test—Would you consider yourself to be a good person?" He said that he did, so I took him through the Ten Commandments." He had lied, but when I asked him what that made him, he said a predictable "Human."
We live in an age of unaccountability. It's the "It's not my fault" age. Adrian was only 'human.' He had weaknesses like every other human being and was therefore not really accountable. But the truth is, every man will give an account of himself to God, and this is why each Christian needs to be like Nathan the Prophet and say, "You are the man!" and one way to do that is to have the person acknowledge what they are.
I said to Adrian, "What would you call me if I told blatant lies?" He said, "A liar." We both smiled when I said that it sure is easier to see other people's sins. He had also stolen, blasphemed and looked with lust. Yet, he still thought that he would go to Heaven, so I explained the justice of God to him, then the cross.
He soberly said, "That made me think." I then explained that I had addressed his conscience rather than his intellect. I said, "It does make us think, because the conscience agrees with each of the Commandments. If I told you that I had a cure to lymph node cancer, and gave it to you, you would probably say, "What are you doing? What do I want this for?" But if I instead took the time to convince you that you had the disease, when I offered you the cure, you are going to appreciate it.
We then prayed together. I gave him my email address, a "Hell's Best Kept Secret" CD, a copy of "The Way of the Master" private screening, a copy of The Evidence Bible, and a book I had written called, 101 Things Husbands do to Annoy Their Wives to give to his dad for his birthday. He was so grateful that I had spoken to him, and I was so thankful that I didn't listen to my fears.
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