About a month ago, my son and daughter wanted to take me to lunch. I'm sure that every parent reading this knows that "take me to lunch" really means "come get us, take us to the restaurant, and by the way, yes, you are paying for this."
My son picked an Asian place. It is one of those places where you are always required to wait an extended period of time (to build culinary excitement), herded in with strangers (privacy is overrated anyway), asked to sit in a semi circle just wide enough that you can't really see or hear your friends (because you know them too well as it is), and are expected to be an audience for a chef who will prepare your meal with amazing flair (if you haven't seen the same show 50 times already).
The first 30 minutes of this visit went just like all the rest...we waited for a table. As usual, we were herded in with strangers. Once again, forced to sit in a semi circle. The waiter came in and took our orders and turned on the large metal grill, where our meal would be cooked.
After that, the "Asian Experience" took a woefully wrong turn.
As we sat awaiting our drinks, we were treated to a show unlike any we had seen in that restaurant before. As the grill heated up, for our culinary amazement, a cockroach came out from under the grill and began to scurry all over the metal surface looking for a cool spot...to no avail. As entertaining as this was, nobody at the table decided to stay for the chef's encore. We all stood simultaneously and left the premises.
On the way out the door, my son looked at me and said, "I just learned in school that when you see just one cockroach, you can be sure there are more than 500 nearby that you can't see."...
...Recently, my son's "cockroach theory" has caused me to ponder some things. What if the "cockroach theory" applies to other things? For example: What if when you caught a friend in a lie, there are really 500 lies leading up to that "one" lie, and you were totally unaware of these lies until it was too late? Absurd, I know, but are you following my train of thought?
The last couple of days have caused me to take stock of myself and my ministry. Some recent statements, which were made innocently, have caused me to think that maybe I'm not very good at what I do. In essence, I'm "Below Average Joe." I spent yesterday pondering my situation, and quite honestly, the jury is still out.
I can't swear that the "cockroach theory" applies in this case. But if it does here's the hard part...regardless of whether they are right or wrong, are there 500 more people nearby who feel the same way? After all, the "cockroach theory" states that when you see one, there are 500 nearby that you cannot see.
So what if you are in the same boat? "Cockroach theory" or not, whether it has been by one or 500, you have been discouraged. My only advice comes from Peter's recounting of the actions of the Savior..."When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." (1 Peter 2:23)
In all honesty, I know no other way to handle the discouragement brought on by others...intentionally or otherwise.