The Pride that Binds
by Major Chick Yuill –
New Frontier is read all over the world. If you need proof, then I can cite as evidence the fact that something I wrote in this column a few weeks ago was picked up and quoted recently in the editorial section of Salvationist, the Army’s newspaper published in the United Kingdom. On a personal note, I guess I was flattered to be quoted and pleased that they still remember my name back in England!
But it did make me think. It’s a dangerous business–committing our thoughts to print. They can come back to haunt you. I’ve been contributing to Salvation Army publications for years and just occasionally someone will produce an old article in which I expressed my views in a forthright manner. On more than one occasion I’ve had to admit that I got it wrong, or at least that my views have changed significantly since those words were written. But I guess that’s all part of the process of maturing and developing one’s thoughts.
And, of course, it isn’t just our written words that need to be weighted carefully. The spoken word can be just as powerful–and just as dangerous. There used to be a poster on display in England during the Second World War–before my time, you understand!–which stated simply, “Careless talk costs lives.” The implication was clear. There was a very real danger of invasion, there might have been spies in the country, and those who had access to information concerning national security should be careful what they said and to whom they said it.
Sometimes I’ve wished I could display that poster in every church and every Salvation Army corps. I have a strong suspicion that over the years, far more damage has been done to the cause of Christ by gossip and unkind criticism than by all the more obvious sins added together. In fact, it has been accurately observed that gossip is particularly the sin of religious people. It can be done with a sense of self-righteous pride that blinds or –more accurately– deafens the speaker to the true import of what he or she is doing.
When I wrote the first column in this series, I explained the reason for the title “Yuillogistically Speaking.” It is, of course, a play on the word “eulogize,” meaning “to praise highly, to speak well of another.” Well, recognizing the importance and the power of words, I’m going to use the rest of this article to praise a number of people who’ve demonstrated the life and love of Jesus Christ in the way they’ve acted towards me recently. I hope it will do as much for them as their kindness did for me.
I write in praise of Nouvart van Kranenburg, who gave the most glorious bunch of flowers to Margaret and me just to thank us for being her corps officers.
I write in praise of Commissioner David Edwards, who telephoned me the other day on a matter of business and addressed me, not as “Major,” but as “My friend.”
I write in praise of Bob Docter who, at the end of our Good Friday service when I felt exhausted, grabbed me in a bear-hug that flooded my soul with new energy.
I write in praise of “Brownie” Johnson who, at very short notice, took on the responsibility of cooking breakfast for more than 200 people on Easter Sunday morning.
I write in praise of Doc Cheatham and Nicholas Dayton who, at the ages of 91 and 23 respectively, recorded an album of trumpet duets last year. I bought the CD just a couple of weeks ago, and it’s one of those jazz recordings that makes a man glad that he has ears to hear.
I write in praise of my wife, who loves me unconditionally all the time, and who laughs uncontrollably at my jokes some of the time.
And last but not least, I write in praise of Jesus Christ, crucified, risen, glorified, present by his Holy Spirit, and one day coming again in all his glory.
Now, that feels better. I’m going to do that more often. Why don’t you try it?