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Metaphorically Speaking…Are We a Dolphin or a Shark?

May 30, 2016

A middle-aged man walks into a psychologist’s office wearing a dancer’s tutu, flippers and a scuba mask. The psychologist, humoring him, asks, “What seems to be the problem?” The man answers, “Well, Doc, I’m worried about my brother…”
It’s interesting how in today’s world we tend to ignore our own issues and focus on everyone else’s issues. Currently it is in vogue to worry about everyone else’s business in the name of compassion, caring and sensitivity. We have become experts at finger pointing. We play policeman from our living room couch in front of the television. We unknowingly but willingly play God and determine what is good or evil, who the perpetrator is and who the victim is, often without knowing the whole story.  We form opinions and get ‘outraged’ on half-truths and others agendas. We get ensnared in the commotion of our own emotion. We become sharks, ripping and tearing, rather than dolphins rescuing and caring.
Caring, sensitivity and compassion are wonderful things, if the source is from pure motives. But, when people serve a cause out of their own need or issues rather than love, everything gets twisted. The Bible says in Proverbs 21:8,
“Mixed motives twist life into tangles; pure motives take you straight down the road.” When we get tangled up emotionally, we tend to broadcast but not receive. We get short fuses. We hear only what we want to hear. That’s how ‘wanna’ dolphins turn into ‘gonna’ be sharks.
In other words, it is possible to do the right things for the wrong reasons. When folks do that, they become like Adam and Eve after the fall. They hide behind fig leaves and hurl. They get angry. They lose authenticity. They become the very thing they accuse the perpetrator of. Rather than deal with their own issues, they look around and hide behind another issue or cause. That cause may be valiant and needed, but those who hide and hurl end up looking like the guy at the beginning of this article. You can’t hide tutus, flippers, and scuba masks by saying you’re worried about your brother! That fig leaf is not big enough.
God knows we are especially vulnerable, gullible and easily manipulated when we are dealing with unresolved issues in our own lives. That is why Jesus gave us a model to go out and change the world for the better from the motive of love rather than searching for significance or hiding behind a cause. His solution was simple. Make sure you are sufficiently well in spirit, soul and body before you try to make others well. Make sure you are a dolphin rather than a shark. After all, sharks beget sharks, dolphins beget dolphins.
How do you do love and serve others from a pure motive? The Bible describes Jesus’ life verse in John 13:3. Jesus knew that He had come from God, was going back to God, and that all things were His because He was God’s. He didn’t have to strive. He was secure, accepted, loved and significant. He didn’t have to be first. It wasn’t about Him.
Therefore, he could serve others with pure motives. He left heaven, took of His robe, put on an apron, started serving and washed really dirty feet. Then He went back to heaven and then asked us to do the same. He served out of love. He was a peaceful participant, not an angry critic trying to prove a point. He wasn’t a shark in dolphin’s clothing. He was the real deal. We can be too!
Mark 12:30 says, “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.” Do you see that…as yourself? Learn to love yourself in a correct, Biblical, selfless way and then you will be ready to love your neighbor. That’s the key to turning on the dolphin life!

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com