Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The “Hoo-How” and the “Way”

Brent didn’t want anything special for his birthday yesterday … just a grilled steak dinner and a cake.

But I still wanted the night to have its own special magic … so I picked up cheap decorations to give the “party” a Hawaiian theme.

When I came home, Neil immediately spied the colorful leis peeking out of the white plastic bags. He ran over and gingerly pulled at one, then sucked in his breath.

“Oh!” he shouted. “What is this?”

“This is for a luau.”

“What’s a Hoo-How?”

“A loo-ow,” I answered, enunciating the consonants. “It’s like a party you have in Hawaii.”

“And what are these flower necklaces?” he said while simultaneously picking up streamers, party horns and paper plates covered in surf boards and palm trees.

“These are called, ‘leis.’”


“No. Le-le-le … leis.”

Neil puckered his lips and tried again.


“Close enough.”

Two hours later, the motor of Brent’s car hummed in the driveway.

“It’s him! Hide!” Neil yelled, ducking behind a stone chimney in our living room.

The door opened, and Neil jumped out. “Surprise!”

He ran to Brent, his little hands gripping a lei, extending it forward.

“What’s this?” Brent asked, taking it and placing it around his neck.

“It’s for you! It’s a WAY!”

“Great! And what is this party we have going on here?”

“It’s a Hoo-How. It’s from Hawaii!”

Brent smiled and hugged Neil. “Great! Thanks!”

So … why am I telling you this little story at the Christian Safe House?

Just to make one point.

Neil knew what he was trying to say. He is still trying to conquer the art of pronouncing his Ls, which trip from his tongue like Ws. But he still gets it. If you ask him to write out “lei” and “luau” and give him the correct spelling, he will write the words with Ls, not Ws.

This got me thinking …

How many times have I been in conversation with someone over a Scriptural point and misunderstood what they were trying to say? Maybe they knew exactly what they were trying to communicate, but they were expressing it in a way I did not recognize or appreciate.

Lately I’ve seen and heard from various Christians and friends who get very angry at others because of how they interpret their viewpoints.

Do we really understand each other? Do we want to understand each other?

If that person is espousing a point of view that you feel is in error, how do you respond? What is the correct way to preserve unity and at the same time gently teach them?

It’s easy to get angry with each other, especially over doctrinal issues. What type of face does that present to the world, though?

Let’s look at the situation here yesterday as an example. If Brent had reacted to Neil by saying, “You little idiot – it’s not ‘hoo-how’ and ‘way!’” what type of effect would that have had on our child?

In the same way, let’s take a step away from our pride. Let’s love each other as Christ loves us – as dear children who are still learning to communicate His love to others in the way that He intends.

What about you? Do you struggle with this?

How can I pray for you?

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