Adapted from a previous sermon series at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas
and inspired and using ideas and content from the Rev. Chris B. Herring
preached at Westminster Presbyterian Church of Saint Louis. Original citation lost.
So, on a sermon about GENTLENESS,
I want to start, of course, with a story about Steven Seagal.
Before Steven Seagal became an actor, if you can call him that,
starring in action movies like Under Siege and Above the Law,
He claims to have had a working relationship with the CIA[i].
He told the story to David Letterman,
And as he tells it, he was at an international airport
undercover, see, on a stakeout, posing as an airport employee,
when a woman approached him with a pet carrier containing her dog.
She was distressed, and she babbled something
about having to take care of some business somewhere.
And she asked Steven,
who was at an information desk or something staffing it to help fliers
she asked him if he could look after her dog for an hour or so.
Not knowing what to say and not wanting to blow his cover, he agreed.
A few minutes after she left, he noticed that the dog was…well, not moving.
He checked, and to his dismay, that dog was d-e-a-d dead! Deceased.
He immediately called the other CIA agents.
Now, they couldn’t afford to cause a scene
by telling the woman that her dog was dead,
so they plotted to replace the dog, a Bichon
with an identical breed at a nearby pet shop,
put the old collar on her, no one would know the difference.
That way, when she came back and saw her dog
she’d be happy and not cause a fuss.
So the woman returned, and they opened the cage and the dog ran to her.
And she took look at her dog, And then she SCREAMED,
fainted right there in the airport.
So much for not causing a scene…
When she came to, she apologized
and explained that she was shocked, you know, and overjoyed.
She thought her dog was DEAD when she left,
and well, now her dog was alive!
The business she left to go take care of: the arrangements for her dog’s burial.
The moral of the story:
Sometimes we think that we’re doing the right thing when we’re not.[ii]
Sometimes we do wrong out of ignorance.
Sometimes out of pressure.
Sometimes out of fear.
Sometimes, its hard to do the right thing, isn’t it.
But, as often, the challenge is discerning in the first place
between the right thing and the wrong thing.