Meaning to do what he could to help a fellow wounded warrior, a soldier complied with a request to go visit a young man who had just lost his leg in combat. Trying to encourage the recent amputee, he told him: “Hey, losing a leg is not as big a deal as some make it out to be. People that don’t know me don’t know that I have an artificial leg. In fact, you have a great advantage because when someone hits it, you don’t feel a thing.” To prove his point, he handed his walking cane to the young man and invited him to take a good whack at his leg. The young man took him up at his offer and took a healthy cut at his leg, to which the other replied, seemingly unfazed, “See what I mean?” He quickly dismissed himself with the promise that he would soon be back. Once out in the hospital corridor, the old vet writhed for several minutes in excruciating pain. The young amputee had smacked his good leg.
Here’s the lessons that I gathered from this story. First of all, it would have been alright had he told the young man that he smacked the wrong leg and that he was in pain. Don’t get me wrong; I believe in doing whatever we can to encourage others, but not to the point of pretending. I also believe there is nothing wrong in telling others, “Sorry, I can’t” when you really can’t. It is difficult to come to terms with the inevitable, especially for those who can no longer do what they used to do. Even Moses had a hard time dealing with that situation. He had the custom of sitting down from morning till night to hear and settle the everyday disputes of his people. When his father-in-law, Jethro, saw it, he told him: “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” (Exodus 18:17-18) Its as if Jethro told him: “Don’t try to do what you can’t, and don’t be afraid to admit it. Get some help.” Moses took the advice and seventy men were appointed to help him. I’ve reached that point too and, just like Moses, I am really grateful to the Lord for the help He has sent me.
You do the same. Do what you can, and don’t let the devil flood you with feelings of guilt when you can’t. When you really can’t comply with someone’s wishes or requests, don’t be afraid to make it known. People who really love you, will love you regardless of what you do or don’t do for them.
Memory verse for the week: Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.