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5 - Communication Jesus' Way

Glenn Coon
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Glenn Coon

Founder, ABCs of Prayer Crusades

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Shall we pray? Dear Lord, make me a nail upon the wall, fastened securely in its place. Then from this thing so common and so small, hang a bright picture of Thy face. And we thank You in Jesus’ name. Amen.


We had the very interesting experience when I was 23 years of age leading music for my brother in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We were holding an evangelistic series of meetings. The interest was beautiful, people coming from all parts of Pittsburgh. Among those that were attendance was a very fine, dedicated, sincere, conscientious young woman coming night after night and night after night. One evening an older lady, who was a Christian already, decided that she would see this young lady home to help her to make a decision more quickly. Now, remember, this young lady was coming regularly. The elderly lady saw her home and talked with her. This was the last meeting so far as we know that the young lady ever attended.


You know that haunted me for years. How come that the very individual who was extremely interested in the soul of this young lady, who was without a doubt praying earnestly for this young lady, should, in her conversation, intercommunication, turn the very person off that she had hoped to turn on more completely to Christ?


We had been studying the ABC’s of prayer. We have been studying how to claim Bible promises, promises for dear ones whom we’d like to see accept Jesus Christ, promises that our homes might be saved, promises that our boys and girls would find Jesus. It’s a science, the claiming of Bible promises. The communicating with the Lord, it’s a science, a beautiful science. But we have found, since that day long ago, when the very dear Christian lady who was so concerned and so fervently praying for her young friend, turned her off, that there are tens of thousands of professed Christians who are doing the same. They are opening the Bible. They are praying, “Oh, Lord, save this dear one.” And then what they say to this dear one actually turns that person off of Christ.


It is because they have never learned to communicate Jesus’ way, and we want to study this evening two special secrets of communicating Jesus’ way to the individuals for whom our hearts are greatly burdened.


A husband, a wife, parents for their children, whoever it might be, we ask God to bless them, to save them, to turn them to Him. And, you know, my friends, we have found during the years of our ministry that this goes into tens upon tens of thousands of dear ones who have never studied Christ’s way of communicating. It’s a science. Jesus is the greatest Teacher this world has ever known. Jesus, the greatest Soul Winner this world has ever known, He teaches us how to communicate.


The two secrets or the two laws of communication that we want to share with you this evening are the laws of choice and humility. They’re both secrets, what Jesus has presented to us. They are in the Old Testament; they are in the New. Turning to the law of choice, this law, this Bible law of communication, this secret of Jesus of communication, we term “the law of the sovereign will,” “the law of the sovereign will.” This means that every human soul without exception has a little kingdom. Every adult has his own little kingdom.


If you would think of this special sign as being a person now for a moment, surrounding this person is an invisible line. And within this circle, no one has the right to intrude. We’re speaking of an adult now. No human being has the right to intrude on this person’s sovereign ground except by invitation. And when the person invites, we’re not intruding.


One of the texts in the Old Testament is Joshua 24:15; it says, “Choose ye.” It doesn’t mean that I’m to choose for this person. This person is to choose for himself or herself. And every time that I try to make a choice for this individual, I’m breaking the fundamental law of God. In fact, I’m breaking the foundation of the foundation of the foundation of life. “What do you mean by that?”


The foundation of life is the Ten Commandment Law. The foundation of the Ten Commandment Law, Jesus said, is love. But the foundation of love is choice. No person can love if he’s made to love, if he’s compelled to love. If we make the decisions for him, if we force him to love, he can’t love. Love must come spontaneously from the human heart.


This is why we’re told in Philippians 2:5 and onward, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” And before the fifth verse, we find the third verse, and we’ll come to those two verses in a moment in connection with the law of humility. But Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in.” So Jesus said, “I’ll give you the choice. You may open the door, and I’ll come in. I’ll not knock the door down. I will not come in unless by your invitation because you are a sovereign in your own territory.” Even the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, will not impose on your territory.


“In order for Me to come in, you must invite Me in. If you hear My voice, you hear the gentle knock, and you open the door, I will come in.” How different that is from the way most of us impose on people, and we say, “I’m going to tell you what to do,” but they never ask us. “I’m telling you, you should do this,” but they’ve never asked us to tell them what to do. So choice is the law of the sovereign will, and it is the foundation of the foundation of the foundation of Christian living. The foundation of Christian living is the Law of God. The foundation of the Law of God is love. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” No man can keep God’s commandments except as he loves. If he went through all of the rudiments, all the technicalities of obedience like the Apostle Paul did before he knew Christ, all of the external conformity is not obedience at all. Obedience springs from a heart of love.


Jesus said on Love, this is the foundation of the Law and the prophets. But I cannot love if I’m forced to love. If I were forced to love, God could make me into a machine. But God has made mankind not machinery. He has given man the privilege of making the choice whether you love God or not. So the foundation of the foundation of the foundation of life is choice. Therefore, when you and I are praying for some individual, and we’re saying, “Lord, I thought I had learned the science of prayer,” and we find that while we’re praying and claiming Bible promises and we’re asking and we’re believing and we’re thanking God we’re receiving, and we don’t receive, there are conditions to every promise in God’s immutable Word.


One of those conditions is, when you pray for a human soul, ask God to teach you to observe the law of choice. Now, what will happen if we don’t? I have been studying from Genesis to Revelation to notice how Jesus Christ in the Old Testament and the New Testament was the author of this wonderful law of choice. You remember when, as recorded here in the third chapter in the book of Genesis, do you remember when Eve started toward that forbidden tree, God did not send an angel, an interceptor, and say, “Eve! Eve! Do you realize what you’re doing?!” He didn’t do it.


I remember I baptized a fine couple several years ago up in New York State, and a few years later the fine lady came to me with some counsel, that is, she came to seek counsel. And as she sought this counsel, she said, “What do you think we should do regarding such-and-such a thing.”


And I said, “Well, what do you think you should do.”


She said, “Well, I think we should do so-and-so.”


I said, “Well, that’s your decision then, isn’t it?”


She said, “But my husband doesn’t see that we should do so-and-so.”


I said, “Well, that’s his decision then, isn’t it? You decide for yourself; he decides for himself,” but she wouldn’t accept that.


She said, “But if he does that, he’ll be sinning.”


And I smiled, and I said, “Doesn’t he have the right to sin as far as you and I are concerned? We’re not his Maker. We’re not his Redeemer. We’re creatures. This is between him and God.” The thought was, “If he conforms, sister, to your conscience, he gets no credit for the act of obedience, for it’s not real obedience. You do what the conscience tells you do to. Let him do what the Lord seems to tell him to do. Let him have his personal relationship between himself and the Lord, and you do the same.”


She said, “But if he sins, he’ll be lost!”


I said, “Doesn’t he have the right to be lost?”


Sin is a tragic thing. The wages of sin is death. It’s a terrible thing to be lost, but she didn’t stop to realize, my friends, that she could never save him by imposing on his sovereign rights.


Some years ago a young lady came to see us. She was seeking counsel. She had been married seven years. And she found it rather difficult to pose the problem. She said, “Well, maybe I’ll start this way.” She said, “When I was married seven years ago, I didn’t know one slang word.” She said, “Today, I can rip off profanity” (trilling) “like that. Why?”


And before she went any farther, I remembered a wonderful statement that was made by one of my favorite authors, and the statement went like this: “Arbitrary words and actions stir up the worst passions of the human heart.” Like Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death.” And I turned to her and I said…I thought, seven years ago when she was married, she was so sweet and so wholesome. Seven years of marriage has made her so passionate that she just swears like a pirate. I said, “Let me ask you a question. Does your husband tell you what to do?”


You ought to have seen the expression in her face, but she said, “He’s a Christian.”


I said, “I didn’t ask you if he was a Christian. Is he telling you what to do?” What I was coming to, if he is imposing on her territory, she has a right to rebel against his trying to control her.


She said, “He’s a Christian.”


“I didn’t ask you that. Is he telling you what to do?”


But she said, “He has good judgment.”


“I didn’t ask you that either. Is he telling you what to do?”


And you know that brings us to this point. Oh, so many men, they’ve dreamed since they were little children of the day that they could marry so they could rule somebody. They just, “Oh, oh, if I could just marry, I could boss somebody.” And men will come to me, and they’ll say, “I have a text of Scripture that authorizes me to tell my wife what to do.”


I say, “Where is that text?”


He said, “That text is over in Ephesians where it says the husband is the head of the wife.”


I said, “Yes, but it doesn’t say for the husband to be the blockhead.” That’s what you are when you impose on her sovereign territory. You’re not the head; you’re the blockhead. You’re blocking her choices.


So I said, “Sister, I didn’t ask you if he has good judgment. I didn’t ask you if he was a Christian. I asked you this: Is he telling you what to do?”


But she said, “He’s a nice-looking man.”


“I didn’t ask you whether he has a pretty nose. I didn’t ask you whether his ears are small. The question is: Is he conforming to the foundation of the foundation of the foundation of life? The foundation is God’s Law. The foundation of obedience is love. The foundation of love is choice, and you choke love, and you choke obedience, and you choke a relationship between the sovereign God when you start playing God, even greater than God because God will not impose.”


She said, “Yes, you’re right.” She said, “My husband very beautifully, very sweetly tells me everything to do like this, ‘Honey, put that right there.” Isn’t that a lovely way to play God? So sweet, “Just put it right there. I told you to do it.”


I said, “That’s the trouble with you. This man has imposed on your territory. God made you a sovereign human being. You’re a princess under God. No human being has the right to play God and be above God to do what even God won’t do.”


She said, “You think that’s it?”


I said, “I know that’s it. God says so.” It’s from Genesis to Revelation. Genesis 3, God did not interpose on Eve’s trip to the forbidden tree. Revelation 3, “I stand at the door and knock.” And all in between, Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find.” In 1 Peter 3:15, “Be ready to give a reason of the hope that’s within you to those who ask you.” Deuteronomy 6:20, when your son asks you, tell him. Joshua 4:18-22, when your son asks you, tell him.


The highest form of instruction, the highest form of Christian education, the highest form of Christian persuasion, the best way to get answers to prayer, my friends, is to stimulate interest so people will ask us. Then when we share the answers, their minds open, you see. Many people have said to me, “If I wait for people to ask me, they’ll never ask.”


I said, “That’s why they don’t ask because you don’t wait.”


How did Jesus get people to ask? Jesus, the Master Teacher, at the age of 12, at the age of 12, has taught us how to get people to ask questions. In Luke the second chapter and the last few verses is says Jesus, at the age of 12 was there in Jerusalem. His parents, you know the story, they’d left Him, forgotten Him. They came back to Jerusalem, hunted around for three days there without Him. When they came in the temple, it says there in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, the last verses, they saw Him and heard Him asking questions.


If you want people to ask you questions, ask them questions. If you want people to respect you, respect them. If you want people to respect your religious beliefs, respect their religious beliefs. I believe that with all my heart, I believe that Baptists and Methodist and Adventists and Congregationalists and Catholics all should respect the other person’s belief. What do you say? The Bible says to do it. First Peter 2:17 says, “Honor all men.”


Jesus asked them questions, and in turn, the wisest heads, the doctors of the great religious nation of that day, in turn they began to ask Him questions. And He answered the questions because He had known how to stimulate their interest. And, my friends, it’s wonderful how people ask questions when we respect them, when we honor them, when we don’t impose on them.


Now, if a person does ask a question about your religious affiliation, or if they ask you a question about anything, you know, don’t give them more than they ask. If a person asks for a spiritual sandwich, how much should we give him? A spiritual sandwich, and a small one, small one. Don’t give him a three-course meal.


I’m thinking of a young man, a neighbor of ours back in Tennessee where we live. He told me of an experience he had in the service. He said they passed a beautiful, delicious, red, ripe watermelon. Oh, man! Oh, when he saw that watermelon coming, it looked so luscious, and, oh, he was so happy for the nice cold watermelon. But his pal next to him said, “No.”


And my friend Asa turned to his pal, and he said, “You don’t like watermelon?”


“No, sir.”


“Didn’t you ever like watermelon?”


“Oh, yes,” he said, “I used to love watermelon.”


Asa said, “How come you used to love watermelon, and now you don’t like it? Tell me.”


“Well,” he said, “I’ll tell you.” He said, “Years ago one of my friends and I raided a watermelon patch.” They took a good view of this patch in the daylight, so they knew just how to walk in. And he said, “We waited for just the right kind of a dark night, a real dark night, because, you see, you can find watermelons in a dark night; It’s not like hunting for nuts.” So, he said, “We knew just how we were going to walk in. We knew just where they were. We could see them from the road.” And he said, “So just the right night came, and we walked in the pathway.” And he said, “We felt around and we got one great big watermelon, and we said, ‘Look, let’s eat the first one right here.’” And he said, “And we said, ‘Well, let’s break it over the stump here.’”


And, of course, there’s a little nervousness there, going in a watermelon patch that doesn’t belong to them, you know, a little undo haste. And they didn’t stop to realize, and they saw what they thought was a stump, and they rushed over quickly and broke the watermelon over the stump. And as they did it, the moon came out just a little, and of all things, they had broken the watermelon over the head of the owner of the patch. He had been there watching, and he had gone asleep, and in their haste, and it was so dark that they thought it was a stump, rushing up quickly, and there they saw they had broken it over the head of this man. And the moon comes out, and the man looks at them and smiles.


And they thought, “What? I don’t believe he was going to shoot us. He had a lovely nice shotgun there on his lap, and he kind of patted it.” And he said, “Of all things, the man said, ‘You like watermelon? Help yourself.’” They didn’t have very much saliva, but fortunately when you eat watermelon you don’t have to have much saliva, you know.


And he said, “We ate, and we ate, and the man was smiling broadly, just the kindest, sweetest thing you ever saw. And it looked like he was going to forgive us, and we could slither away.” But he said, “When we got just full, the man smiled again, and he said, ‘Boys, you haven’t had enough.’ And he patted that shotgun just a little,” you know. And he said, “Open another.”


Now, they didn’t open the next the same way, you understand. He said, “And we opened the other, and we ate. We didn’t know where we could put anymore watermelon.” And the man said, “Just keep on eating. You have not nearly enough.” When he just kind of patted that shotgun, you know, they decided they’d rather be full of watermelon than shot. Wonderful decision, wasn’t it? Wonderful decision.


He said, Asa, “I’ve never wanted to see a watermelon since.” Friends, when a person asks for our advice, make that advice shorter than what he asks for. And the appetite will always be sharp, and he will always come back. Remember the watermelon story, right?


You know, sometimes…I’ve been talking about the men who are not just heads. Sometimes ladies forget, too. Once in awhile, a very lovely lady comes to me, you know, and she says, “I just have to tell my husband what to do most all the time.” She’s kind of lacy, you know, lacy and nice. She has that finesse, whatever that “ness” is. And she said, “I just have to tell my husband what to do.”


I said, “Wait a minute. The law of choice is the foundation of the foundation of the foundation of life.” I said, “Look, don’t you tell your husband what to do, even if he puts his socks in the frying pan.” And, you know, a lot of people kind of titter a little bit, and they think that’s a joke. That isn’t a joke; that’s a principle. I said, “Now, follow me carefully, and you will see it’s a principle. If he puts his socks in the frying pan, and you don’t say a single word, remember now, if you just obey the text Isaiah 30:15, ‘In quietness and confidence shall be your strength,’ if you’ll be absolutely quiet and not say a word, the socks will convey their own message. But if you get ahead of the socks, he’ll blame you. But if you’ll just be quiet, that man will never have socks omelet again. Never! He’ll say, ‘This just doesn’t work. I don’t like socks They’re not what I wanted.’”


My friends, one lady was in one of our services like this, and when the meeting was over, I heard her on the outside. She said, “Yeah, he can put his socks in the frying pan if he wants to, but not in my frying pan.” Not in my frying pan. Friends, I want to tell you on the authority of God’s immutable, eternal, impeccable word, that if you and I will stop trying to instruct people who have not asked to be instructed, if we will only give them less instruction than they ask for, people will be coming to us and fellowshipping with us; they will love to be around us, whether it’s a son, whether it’s a daughter, whether it’s a husband or a wife. Did you know that most divorces take place (and separations) because at least one of the married partners has never learned to stop picking.


Here’s a wonderful quotation from that book called Education, page 41. Oh, you’ll love it. I’m quoting. “True education is not the forcing of instruction on an unready and unreceptive mind.” So, number one, don’t tell any adult anything unless he wants to know. How about that? And you will be literally astonished at how people want to be around us if we just won’t be bossy. When we are bossy, it means this: It means we have not found security in Jesus Christ.


We’ve studied this for years, friends, and we found this is what happens. Every time that you and I try to play God in another person’s life, it’s because we have not found the sweet security in Jesus. Had we found the security in Jesus, we could claim a promise that the Holy Spirit would do the convicting so we wouldn’t have to convict, you see? Every time we try to convict people, we’re taking the place of the Holy Spirit. And every time we start accusing people, we’re taking the place of the devil! He’s the accuser of the brethren. The Holy Spirit convicts, John 16:8. The devil accuses, Revelation 12:10.


No wonder that man came to me at the close of one of our meetings, and he said, “Oh, I’m so happy that you shared this with me.” He said, “I see what’s wrong in the home with me now.” He said, “I have been working for the Lord like the devil.” Accusing, trying to force instruction. Oh, my friends, let us let the burden be on the Holy Spirit, what do you say? Let us find that the Lord is able to do. He made the world in six days; He spoke, and it was. He commanded, and it stood fast. God can handle the human heart. He can make a new heart. You and I can’t make new hearts. Let’s stop trying to reform people by breaking the law of choice, Amen?


Now the second secret, or the second law, is humility. Humility is the law of the third horizontal level down. The law of the third level down, the third horizontal level down. Here it is. Philippians 2, verse 3, “Esteeming other better than ourselves.” Philippians 2:5 now, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation.” He was “made in the likeness of men.” This is all Philippians 2:5-8. He was “made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,” and He took the servant level. God, man, servant. Jesus came to this world as the servant of mankind. He was the Creator of the world, but He was born in a stable and cradled in a manger so man would not be afraid to confide in Him.


Every time that you and I take this holier-than-thou attitude, we’re breaking the very attitude of Jesus, the very spirit of Jesus. Jesus was born in a stable, cradled in a manger. He died on Calvary between two thieves. The night before He died, He bent down and washed His disciples’ feet. The Master Mechanic of the universe humbled Himself. When the woman of Samaria came to Him, instead of pouncing on her, He asked her a favor. That’s humility.


Humility means, “I look upon God as the highest. I esteem everyone else as better than myself.” The Bible says to do it, Philippians 2:3. First Peter 2:17, “Honor all men.” Titus 3:2, “Speak evil of no man.” You see, when you and I belittle someone, this person feels ill at ease in our presence. When we start to instruct someone, he feels ill at ease. So the law of humility, which means look up to people instead of down on them, the law of choice, which means don’t tell any adult anything unless he wants to know, when we conform to these two principles of Jesus, you know what happens? People feel perfectly at ease in our presence.


Jesus said so, Matthew 11:28-30, and I’m going to paraphrase it: If you choose to come to Me (that’s the law of choice), all you that labor and are heavy laden, and if you will learn of My meekness (or humility), you will have rest. We have found, friends, we have tried this out for decades in our ministry, we have found that anytime we try to choose for someone else, and every time that we belittle someone else, this person feels ill at ease in our presence. We have found that the breaking of these two principles is the basic reason for separation in the home. We have checked and checked and double-checked through the years.


For instance, a very fine Christian man came to us some time ago, oh, a couple thousand miles from here. You’ll know that all the negatives we present happen thousands of miles away. Tears in his eyes, trickling down his cheeks, he said, “I wonder if you would go and see my wife and ask her to come home.” They got the impression because we have written so many books, they’ve gotten the impression that if we sort of punch a little button “ask, believe, and claim,” that their partners will do anything we tell them to do. How can we tell a partner what to do when the Bible tells us not to tell anybody what to do unless they ask?


He said, “Will you please tell my wife to come back?” He said, “She’s left me.”


I said, “Do you think you know why she left?”


He said, “No, I don’t know why she left.” He said, “I love her very, very much.”


“How long have you been married?”


He said, “Three months.”


“Three months? How long a courtship did you have?”


“A year.”


“Was it a good courtship?”


“Oh,” he said, “we had a wonderful courtship.”


“A courtship for a full year, and in three months after marriage, she left you?” Listen, friends, please pray for the Holy Spirit. It can change families. It can change the parents’ attitude toward their children.


Three months of marriage. I said, “I will call her, but, you know, I can’t break the law of choice and tell her to come back. She wouldn’t listen, anyway, if I told her, but I’ll call her, and I’ll ask her why she left, if she sees light in it.” So I called her on the telephone, “Mrs.” blank, “you don’t know me. I’m just a guest speaker here, but your husband came to me. He is quite heartbroken, and he loves you very much, and he would so love to have you come back home. Is there anything that I could do? If there’s nothing I can do, I certainly am not going to impose on you, but…”


She said, “No, there’s nothing you can do, Pastor.” She said, “No, I don’t feel at ease around him.”


The laws of human ease are choice and humility. Choice means don’t tell anybody what to do unless he wants to know (any adult). Humility means don’t belittle anybody, and they’ll feel at ease.


She said, “When we were courting for a whole year, we had a beautiful, blessed courtship.” And she said, “He treated me like a sweetheart.” She said, “The day that we were married, he treated me as a daughter. He told me, ‘Just put that there.’ ‘Just do this.’ ‘Just do that.’” She said, “We were completely changed.” She said, “I don’t know anything about his finances. I know nothing about his business. I am just like a teenager who is not supposed to know anything.” And she said, “I wanted to marry a sweetheart. I already have a father. I didn’t want to marry a father. Now, I’ve married a father.” And she said, “I just can’t take it. I just can’t take it, so I’ve left.” She said, “I don’t think there’s any possibility of our home ever being reestablished.”


I went back and talked to him. I said, “Brother,” I could see he really loved the Lord; in fact, he had been a minister, and I said, “this is what happened. During the year of your courtship, you treated her with respect. You looked up to her. You courted her. But when you married her, immediately you put her in the child class, and she felt ill at ease.” The tears just trickling down his cheeks.


I think of another man, made a several-hundred-mile trip to see us. He said, “I wish, is there something you can do to save my marriage?”


I said, “Tell me what’s happening.” I said…And right away I ask people these two questions. “Have you sort of been telling your mate what to do? Maybe picking just a little bit? Have you sort of been taking a senior attitude?”


“Well, yes,” he said, “I have.” He said, “In fact, I thought I was supposed to.” He said, “I thought I was supposed to be the head of the house.”


“Yes, you were supposed to be the head of the house but not the,” (what?) “not the blockhead.”


He said, “You know, I even told my wife how to cook. I told her how to clean the house. I told her how to dress because I knew so much more than she did.” Isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t that wonderful? He said, “I see now, since I’ve talked with you, what’s wrong. I made the choices for her. I expected her to follow my decisions, and when she didn’t, I belittled her, ‘Look at the dirty house.’ ‘You could do better; look at the clothes.’ ‘Look at the food.’ So I chose for her, and I belittled her, and the separation took place.”


Friends, we’re not sharing this that you and I might be entertained merely. We’re sharing this, my friends, because we have boys and girls out in the drug world. We have boys and girls that are in the world of sin and vice. We have mates who may leave us any day, and we little dream it. Oh, how many people come and tell me about it. “I never dreamed that my husband would leave me. Just like that, he took off.” Or, “My wife, I thought everything was all right. She’s gone like this,” [snaps fingers]. They sat and listened to what you’re listening to tonight, and those who are viewing, never dreamed that it was for them individually.


Now, let me give you one illustration of humility. Here’s a father who is praying for his son. He said, “I’ve been learning about the ABC’s of prayer. There are 3,573 promises in the Bible (or clusters of promises). I’ve taken a promise that the Lord will save my son, Isaiah 49:25, and I’ve asked Him to do it. I believe He’s doing it, and I’ve claimed it, and I’ve thanked Him for it, and nothing has happened.”


I said, “Listen, how did you talk to your son? Did you belittle him?”


“Yes,” he said, “I belittled him because I was trying to help him to come to his senses.”


“Oh, you’re trying to bring conviction; that’s the business of the Holy Spirit. And when you accused him, that’s the work of the devil. Tell me, what did you do?


“Well,” he said, “I’ll tell you what I did.” He said, “I prayed earnestly for that boy.” He said, “He was sitting there one day,” a teenager 17 years old. He said, “I was praying for him, and I thought maybe if I prayed just right, I’ll bring him to his sense. So I said, ‘Dear Lord, help Jim to behave himself.’”


Now, what law did he break? He broke the law of humility. He belittled Jim. I said, ‘You know, if you change just one sentence, you could turn Jim on.”


“Just one sentence?”


Now, Jim is listening. Now he hears a new kind of prayer, and it goes like this. “Dear Lord, help me to behave myself and be good to Jim.” And Jim will say, “Amen!”


The enthusiasm with which Jim could say Amen reminds me of an experience that happened back in the state where I was born. There was a man listening to a Pastor Lane, S.H. Lane, who was a great orator. And this man would become so enthused with Pastor Lane and his speaking, that he would say, “Amen,” you know? There were days when people weren’t afraid to say Amen in church. I wish that day would return. I like to hear people say Amen. What do you say?


[AUDIENCE: “Amen.”]


Well, praise the Lord. And this man, when he would hear Pastor Lane, he would get so enthused that he said, “Amen.” And since he was the only one that would say Amen, people would turn around and look at him, you know, turn around as though there was something wrong with him. There was something right with him, except he made this mistake. He would put the Amen in the wrong places, you know.


So, Pastor Lane got a hold of him one day, and he said, “Brother,” he said, “you break my chain of thought when you say Amen so loudly. Nobody else is saying it.”


He said, “Oh, I’m sorry, Pastor. I never thought of that.” He said, “I’ll never do it again.” He said, “I’ve been so thrilled with the messages that the Holy Spirit is helping you to present. I’ll never do it again.”


And the next time that Pastor Lane preached, oh, this man was so thrilled again. He sat there wanting to say Amen, but he couldn’t. And after a few minutes, he just got so full of enthusiasm to hear the pastor preaching, that he sat there, and he said, “Whew! Whew! Whew! Amen, Amen, Amen!”


Now when this teenage boy hears his father pray a different kind of prayer, instead of saying, “Lord, help Jim to behave himself,” he hears dad say, “Lord, help me to behave myself and be good to Jim,” do you know what Jim will probably be saying under his breath? “Amen! Amen! Amen! I believe I can stand it around daddy now. I believe I can put up with daddy.”


My friends, it’s very simple, but only as Jesus Christ comes and dwells in our heart can we have the spirit of humility and not try to boss people. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” He was in the form of God; He was God. He came to this world. He made Himself of no reputation. He came down past the man level, in a sense. He became the Servant of man that he might win man. “Lord, give me that spirit.” What do you say?


But, you know, my friends, we have to pray earnestly to let Jesus in, or self will assume this, “It’s so good to tell people,” you know, “and to belittle people,” but it’s tragic.


I was in a home; you would be surprised what some of us ministers hear in people’s homes. I was in a home where I heard a man talking to his wife. He just kind of opened his heart and talked to his wife and children. And he didn’t know about humility. He was living up to a lot of good rules. Does that make us wonderful? No. Jesus said, if we do everything He commands us, we’re to think of ourselves as unprofitable servants.


I heard him say to his wife (how in the world he said it in my hearing), he said, “You know,” he said, “now, I’m living a pretty good life. I’m not living the life that you are.” He said, “And I would not be surprised if God rewarded me by taking me right to Heaven most any day.” Talk about humility.


I heard his wife’s reply, and this was her reply, “I know you wouldn’t be surprised if you’re taken to Heaven most any day, but all the rest of us would surely be surprised.”


He that humbleth himself shall be exalted, and part of humility is the ability to apologize to one another. When I was a little boy in my father’s home, I don’t remember one single night when we had our family worship (he had it every night and every morning), I don’t remember a single night but what he apologized to us if he had been a little irritated that day. When my father apologized to us, my friends, it did something to me. A big man apologizing to a little boy, “I’m sorry I was irritated today. Will you forgive me?” Why it just broke our hearts open. Only one night in all the time I was at home did my father not have the strength to apologize when he was rough on me. We knelt down, we had our prayer, and I went to bed. I was just a little tyke, but daddy had been pretty rough on me. I had done my best to cooperate, but he had been awfully rough. And I felt it. It just hurt me. It pained me.


I went upstairs in that little old farmhouse to my bed, and I climbed into bed, and do you know, you would be astonished at the vocabulary that a little boy had. I used such words in my heart, “Hypocrite, the old hypocrite.” I never once talked back to my father, never once in all my life – when he heard it. But he didn’t hear it. And I was upstairs in bed, and I said, “The old hypocrite. He professes to be a Christian. He was so mean to me today. He wasn’t man enough to apologize. I’ll never belong to his church. You wait till I grow up; I’ll have nothing to do with it.” And I was just sobbing.


And then I heard that little old latch to the stairway door move. And I said to myself, “I bet the old hypocrite’s coming up now.” And I turned my face to the wall. I was just crying, and I tried to restrain my sobs, hot tears on my cheeks. Turned toward the wall and tried to play opossum. That’s a hard thing for a Coon to do. Just all but snored, you know. I presently felt my father’s arm. I felt his face up next to mine, and I heard him say, “Son, will you forgive me?” Instantly my father was the hero of my life. “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”


Friends, let’s go back and tell our boys and girls we’re sorry when we’ve bossed them. What do you say? Discipline, yes. Obedience, yes. Bossiness, no. Let’s go back and apologize to husbands and wives and say, “Look, I have been bossing you because I did not have the security in Jesus Christ myself, and I’ve asked God to forgive my sins and to let me realize that I am His child. Therefore, I don’t have to boss any of His other children.”


Our Father in Heaven, thank You tonight for Jesus. We thank You for forgiveness, Lord, wherein we have, professing Your name, have not drunken deeply of Your wonderful Spirit.


While our heads are bowed in prayer, and our eyes are closed, how many here this evening and those viewing, do you feel as I do? Lord, thank You for forgiving me wherein I have been out of place, wherein I have imposed on someone’s right of choice or when I have belittled people. All who ask God to forgive you for where you have broken these secrets, will you lift your hand and those that are viewing. Thank You, Lord. We’re asking. You have said, “I will forgive, though your sins are as scarlet.” We’re going home and making wrongs right. Thank You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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