Thursday, October 21, 2021

Larry Buford: Going off Script!

Queen Esther and Nehemiah before Kings
Queen Esther and Nehemiah stand before Kings

*Hey fellas! Some of you may remember how nervous you were when, as a teenager, you first started calling girls on the phone. I know I was. I don’t recall asking a girl for her phone number – I would get it from the phone book, which was even more daring and nerve-racking. What if she answered, then hung up on me? What if her father answered the phone? Then, what would I say?

I decided to write and play out a script that went something like:

“Hello, may I speak with Mary?” [hoping she’d answer the phone and not daddy]
“This is she, who’s calling? [so glad she answered the phone]
“This is Larry from school, how are you?”
“I’m doing fine. How did you get my number?”
“From the phone book…I hope you don’t mind.” [hope she can’t tell how nervous I am]
“No, it’s okay.” [so far, so good]
“Have you started the homework assignment yet?”

Now at this point, my palms are sweaty, and the lump in my throat is so big I can hardly swallow! What do I do now? She continues:

“Yeah it was easy, how about you?” [now I’m shaking and fresh out of words, so I say…]
“I…uh, I’m just getting started. Okay, it was nice talking with you; I’ll see you at school.” [whew! I had no confidence in going off script]

After we hung up, I could think of a thousand things I could have said, but when you’re in the hot seat, it’s like being on Family Feud – either you have a good answer, no answer, or you say something stupid! I eventually learned how to listen in the moment and K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid!).

Going on Scripture!

As you know, we’re living in a time of moral decline, where everything is questioned and scrutinized – what side do you come down on this issue or that issue!? Rehearsing and training for certain situations like a public speech, earthquake and fire drills; or for people of color to have “the talk” with their kids on what to do when stopped by the police; but what do you do when you’re in a situation that’s not so black or white; not so cut and dry, and your life may be on the line?

By all means be prepared, but what if you were brought before a judge to plead your case, and the proceedings took off in a direction that you did not see coming and had not anticipated?

Many followers of Christ who stood before kings prayed and fasted for favor and the right words to speak, as they never knew how the king would react. Take Queen Esther for instance: She found favor in the sight of the king, and he extended his scepter to her (Esther 8:4,5). She acted in the moment on faith. Then there was Nehemiah: When the king asked why he was saddened, Nehemiah was afraid, and quickly prayed to God before making his request known. He wrote in scripture, “The king granted me the requests because the good hand of my God was upon me” (Nehemiah 2:2-5). He too acted in the moment on faith. Both accounts could have ended in death if not for favor.

So, believers in Christ, as we see the church being attacked more and more in these perilous times, when you are persecuted and your faith comes into question, do not rely on your own script, but rather on scripture. Matthew 10:19,20 reads: “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time, you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

Even in our everyday conversations with others, if we rehearse a script in our heads of what we are going to say when it’s our turn to speak, we may not be as attentive and listening very well to what is being said or asked. Let’s learn to communicate effectively.

Proverbs 3:5,6 reads: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

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larry buford (added 11-24-18)
Author Larry S. Buford

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon); two insightful books that speak to our moral conscience in times like these. Email: [email protected]

Larry Buford
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, and author of Book/CD titled "Things Are Gettin' Outta Hand" (Steuben Pub.) He writes Human Interest articles and entertainment reviews for various newspapers across the country. He is also an editor, and provides services for press releases, interviews, business letters, resumes, etc. A native Detroiter, he is a former Motown songwriter.



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