21 June 2012

"Nin go ga ti bora din..." or "You ARE that man..." (Yes, you've seen that title before because this is try # 2)

(I published this post a few weeks back - but somehow, the whole middle section disappeared forever into blog nothingness. So, now I'm trying again, because I'd really love to let you all see how much these ladies are teaching me!!!)

We've been talking about sitting in the hot seat...
about having others question the rightness or the wrongness of what we are doing...
of questioning the rightness or wrongness of what others are doing...
of judging...
of being judged...
of our liberty in Christ...

And it has been interesting.

After all these years, a Bible study topic where I don't feel like I have to literally drag participation out of these women. I keep praying that  a few more of the women would show up.

Last month, we met again, to continue our discussion and I did have my "notes" all written out, but we didn't end up following them.

The Lord had shown us something during our last Saturday afternoon together: He'd shown us our own hypocrisy as we realized, each lady present, that we much prefer to be in the position of the one correcting or confronting rather than sitting in the hot seat as the one being corrected or confronted - about anything. When asked, "Why?" each person agreed that the elevated position of teacher is preferred to the lowly position of learner (or disciple).

I did follow my notes long enough to ask the ladies to think about that "revelation," because it was not biblical, especially in the light of several Scriptures. I'd  been meditating on them for two weeks already... and so we looked at several verses (Proverbs, Philippians 2, Sermon on the Mount), reminding us of this theme: God is opposed to the proud and He lifts up the humble. Obviously, if our group of women so blatantly preferred the perceived elevated position of confronter to that of confrontee, we were all dealing with some measure of pride issues.

In the midst of those verses, the Lord brought to mind a rather scary "hot seat" moment for me that had happened the previous week. As I've mentioned before, these women LOVE a story, so I decided to tell them all about my own hot seat experience just a few days earlier...

I was driving a group of Sahel Academy students back to the school after their PE class at the pool - which involved traversing the Niger River. There are only two bridges in town; thankfully, the pool was nearer to the bridge with less traffic and also the "back" way to the school, again, avoiding more traffic. This bridge actually resembles a "freeway" bridge back in the States: 4 lanes, divided, and limited access of a sort. The "exit" to take the back roads back to the school, however, is a fairly sharp right turn for a vehicle the size of our Landcruiser, meaning to make the turn without having to stop and back up and turn some more, I'd have to haywagon (i.e. swing left to have more space to turn right). That was my mistake...

The approach ramp to/from the bridge on the south side of the river is a long one. Several hundred meters earlier I'd passed a man on his motorcycle, signaled to return to the right hand lane, returned to that lane, turned my signal off, drove a bit more and then signaled to indicate that I'd be making that right turn to leave the bridge ramp (I'm pretty fastidious about signaling. In this city, you are more likely to get a ticket for failing to signal than you are for running a red light or driving to fast. And then I made that haywagon move I just described so that I could actually negotiate the very sharp right turn. As I did that guy on his motorcycle, the one I'd passed several hundred meters earlier, slammed into the passenger side of the car. He ignored my blinker signaling a right turn and tried to pass me on the right anyway.

As I got out of my car to check and make sure he was okay, I quickly noticed that he was a military officer... and he was mad, very mad actually. He immediately started yelling about how the accident was my fault and a crowd quickly gathered behind me. After he'd hollered for a few minutes, he asked, "What did you think you were doing?" So I asked him if he'd seen my blinker signaling. He had, but insisted that didn't matter because I'd passed him and knew he'd be coming up on the right.

At that moment, I knew I was right and could have insisted... but instead I simply said to the officer that he was correct. If I looked back, there was the chance I would have seen him coming and thus waited for him to pass before I turned, thus preventing the accident.

His next question was, "So, Madame, what are you going to do about this?" I asked him if he had papers for his motorcycle. He said he did, so I told him that according to my understanding, we exchanged insurance and license information, filed accident reports with our respective insurance companies and then they took it from there. He agreed... but didn't seem to want to pull out his papers.

"Madame, I don't want to cause you any problems. I just want to make sure my motorcycle still works." There was some obvious damage and the front wheel didn't seem to be exactly aligned properly, but the machine started and was drivable. And then we waited, until he said again, "Madame, I don't want to cause you any problems, but I did collide hard with your vehicle and my chest and ribs hurt."

I replied, "Sir, I agree. I'd hate to think that you were injured as a result of this accident. Don't we follow the same procedure of exchanging papers and then any medical care that you need as a result will be covered by either my insurance or your insurance?" and I again waited for him to pull out his papers, but he didn't.

He simply said, "Have a good day," and drove away... and the surprisingly large crowd that had gathered behind me began to disperse (I was very thankful one of the older young men in my Landcruiser had gotten out and come to stand beside me, as I felt a little vulnerable before that point).

As I concluded my story, the women began to laugh... but I asked them if they could identify the confrontation that occurred in my story. They could - and quickly noted that I was the one in the hot seat that time around. So I asked them how they thought I did in handling the confrontation, and then asked them to tell me what I did well and what I didn't do so well. The general consensus was that when I was willing to accept at least some of the responsibility, I allowed him to ride away without feeling shamed - even though he was clearly in the wrong... even though I clearly had the right and could have protested.

Now that they had some experience analyzing a "confrontation," I took the ladies to 2 Samuel 12 ~ the biblical account of Nathan, sent by God, to confront David with the reality of the sin he had committed towards Uriah the Hittite (and others), helping David see just how deeply he had offended God. I told the ladies I wanted them to know this story because it gives us a Biblical picture of confrontation both done and received well.

The rest of our study was spent with me reading the Zarma Biblical account (slowly and surely, one little step after another, my Zarma language abilities make minute advances) followed by some basic clarification of the events that took place in those verses.

We finished up Bible study with two questions, the same two questions I'd like to leave with you today:
  1. What did Nathan do well as he confronted David with his sin?
  2. What did David do well as he found himself sitting in the hot seat?

1 comment:

  1. Adam Garrison21 June, 2012 23:03

    Sounds to me like you did an excellent job of handling a very delicate, and potentially dangerous, situation.


Stop in for a chat! I love to hear what you have to say ~


Related Posts with Thumbnails