Miscommunication, Part One

“Don’t garble the message!” If I heard that once during Marine boot camp, I must’ve heard it four dozen times. Again and again, our outfit was warned against hearing one thing, then passing on a slightly different version. You know, changing the message by altering the meaning a tad. It’s so easy to do, isn’t it? Especially when it’s filtered through several minds, then pushed through each mouth.

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No Place for Islands

Nobody is a whole chain. Each one is a link. But take away one link and the chain is broken. Nobody is a whole team. Each one is a player. But take away one player and the game is forfeited. Nobody is a whole orchestra. Each one is a musician. But take away one musician and the symphony is incomplete. Nobody is a whole play. Each one is an actor. But take away one actor and the performance suffers.

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Getting Involved, Part Two

Yesterday, I told you of several appalling cases in which hurting—even dying—people cried out for help only to be blatantly ignored by passersby, both Christians and non-Christians. What’s happening? Why the passivity? How can we explain the gross lack of involvement? John Darley and Bibb Latane wrote an insightful article in Psychology Today a number of years ago, titled “When Will People Help in a Crisis?”

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Getting Involved, Part One

Kitty Genovese was brutally attacked as she returned to her apartment late one night. She screamed and shrieked as she fought for her life . . . yelling until she was hoarse . . . for thirty minutes . . . as she was beaten and abused. Thirty-eight people watched the half-hour episode from their windows with rapt fascination. Not one so much as walked over to the telephone and called the police. Kitty died that night as thirty-eight witnesses stared in silence.

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Keeping Confidences

Can you keep a secret? Can you? Be honest, now. When privileged information passes through one of the gates of your senses, does it remain within the walls of your mind? Or is it only a matter of time before a leak occurs? When the grapevine requests your attention from time to time, do you refuse to help it climb higher, or do you encourage its rapid growth, fertilizing it by your wagging, unguarded tongue?

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Being Wanted, Part Two

Chances are very good that there are those in your church fellowship, workplace, or family who feel unwanted, forgotten, unloved (and unlovely!)—and are more lonely than words can express. I wish to speak on their behalf and in their defense today. Strange though it may seem, these are often the people most difficult to love. Why?

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Being Wanted, Part One

Her voice was weak and fearful as she spoke to me over the phone. It was almost midnight and she kept apologizing . . . but she was so lonely and wanted someone to listen to her. I never got her name nor her address nor enough hints about her location to follow up our conversation. Her desperate story broke my heart. I actually wept after she said, “Good-bye—thanks for listening.”

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Remembering Names, Part Two

Okay . . . there you stand, getting introduced to someone. How are you going to remember the person’s name? Well, you’re already of the mind-set that this meeting and the person are very important. You remember that from yesterday, right? Okay, so now zero in first on one major thing—the name, nothing else, for a few seconds. Ignore all distractions and peripheral activity. Listen for one thing, the name. That is your goal, after all.

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Remembering Names, Part One

Remembering is a skill. Sure, there are those who have been blessed with a good memory. But they are exceptions. For most of us, remembering is a skill, like speaking in public, singing, reading, thinking, or swimming. We improve at a skill by hard work—direct effort applied with a good deal of concentration, mixed with proper know-how.

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Who Cares?

Who really cared? His was a routine admission to busy Bellevue Hospital. A charity case, one among hundreds. A bum from the Bowery with a slashed throat. The Bowery . . . last stop before the morgue. Synonym of filth, loneliness, cheap booze, drugs, and disease. The details of what had happened in the predawn of that chilly winter’s morning were fuzzy. The nurse probably shrugged it off.

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