Posts Tagged ‘Bee Gees’

 “Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor (Proverbs 18:12).”

I have very bad memories of the 7th grade. That year I moved shortly after the beginning of the school year.

My family and I left a small city in the mountains of southwest Virginia for the the urban sprawl of Baltimore. It was the ultimate culture shock.

It was bad enough that I was experiencing all the effects of entering puberty at the time. Add to this sudden exposure to new ethnic groups I had never encountered before, a penintentary-like junior high school, and being made fun of because of my “southern” accent, and life became rather droll.

The above memories were raised when I watched the movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” with my family over the weekend. I think this flick portrayed what is now called “middle school” to a “T”. It was hilarious.

Greg is your typical self-absorbed teeny bopper.  Yet, he”s smarter than most. He has a plan to navigate the social minefield of middle school and make himself popular.

His problem is that his best friend is Rowley, who is still stuck maturity-wise back in grade school. Being connected with Rowley is bad for Greg’s ratings among others at the school.

While Greg continues in his self absorption and tries to reform Rowley, the latter remains who he is. Rowley has few issues with self acceptance in his ignorant condition.

Greg’s selfishness ends up causing Rowley problems. Greg knocks Rowley into a snow drift, breaking his friend’s arm. Rowley is also kicked off the safety patrol when he gets the blame for directing kids in his charge to hide in a mudhole, something Greg actually has done to avoid his own harm when some bullying teenagers come by.

Greg remains unrepentant, however. He doesn ‘t apologize for breaking Rowley’s arm and he let’s his friend “take one for the team” instead of confessing his wrongdoing to the teacher in charge of the safety patrol.

Greg also refuses to cooperate with Rowley on a competition to become the new cartoonist for the school newspaper. He dismisses Rowley’s ideas and the two submit separate cartoons in the contest.

Despite Greg’s preoccupation with his own social standing, Rowley thrives. The girls fawn all over him about his broken arm. He wins the cartoon contest. Rowley, just by being himself, becomes popular.

In fact, he is maturing also. He sees through Greg’s selfishness and breaks off their friendship.

In the meantime, Greg slides far down the social scale. He is lumped in with the nerdiest kid in school popularity-wise.

Greg’s problem is that he has lost sight of the truth about selfishness, Self-love  is extremely unwise. If one is to make friends, he or she  has to be friendly.

The wise man of Proverbs understood this. He wrote,”An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment (Proverbs 18:1).”

Jesus was the King of the Universe, but in His darkest hour even He didn’t look out for Number 1. He was more concerned with the welfare of his friends than His own hide (John 18:8,9).

In some ways, Greg’s efforts to succeed at climbing his school’s social ladder was meant to make a mockery of the whole warped scheme of things.  However, the narcissistic way he went about it caused him no end of grief.

Robin Gibb once got an idea for a song sitting on an airplane. He listened to the engine drone on, got the melody and later finished the lyrics with his fellow Bee Gees:

“I started a joke
That started the whole world crying
But i didn’t see…
That the joke was on me
I started to cry
That started the whole world laughing
If i’d only seen
That the joke was on me.”

Says Gibb, “To me, that was a very spiritual song, about faith and survival in life. It wasn’t a love song, it was one of the first songs we wrote about struggling to survive emotionally alone in the world.”

Greg’s motivation in middle school was to survive. However, his methodology was flawed.

 His excessive concern with his own well-being without regard for others set off an odd cause and effect in which his plans negatively boomeranged on him. Ironically,  his buddy Rowley benefited.


At the bottom, Greg finally learns what is important.  His lesson comes from a moldy piece of cheese.

This piece of cheese has been sitting on the playground forever. It has developed a horrible aura similar to cooties. If a kid touches it, they become infected and thus ostracized.

One day a group of teenage bullies haunting Greg and Rowley forces the latter to eat this piece of cheese. As a crowd of kids gathersd, Greg does something completely out of character: he takes the wrap.

Greg says it is in fact he that has consumed the cheese. He says this to protect his friend. He then lectures the kids about the folly of the whole culture they have developed at the school.

The kids don’t  buy Greg’s sermon. They flee in disgust, perpetuating the cheese myth.

In the end, however, Greg gets what he is looking for. He receives notoriety in a place he never thought of: in the school yearbook, he is pictured with Rowley. The caption reads,”Cutest Friends.”

Greg learns he doesn’t have to be Mr. Popular. He just needs to love and be loved by those who care for him.

One day he gets out of bed and understands the wisdom of  the Proverb which says,”A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).”

Robin Gibb finished his lyrics this way:

“I looked at the skies
running my hands over my eyes
And I fell out of bed
hurting my head
from things that I’d said

Till I finally died
which started the whole world living
Oh if I’d only seen
that the joke was on me.”

Sometimes we have to die to live. We definitely have to die at times if others are to live. Jesus knew this.

If there is a formula in the Christian life. it is this: we die so others may live. Then God looks out for us.

Practically speaking, this means we use our resources so that others in our sphere get their needs met. We then let God take care of ours. To me, it’s an exciting adventure to watch how God will go about doing this!


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“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).”

Yesterday I went to a college football game and, although my friend Jeff offered me sunscreen, I demurred.  While it’s not overly serious, I am paying the price this mornng.

I feel like I have a low-grade temperature. My brain is foggy. My skin is aggravated, especially in my face. I have a red neck.

Google tells me how to heal it. One article says to take a warm shower to increase circulation. Without knowing it would be a remedy, I did that last night anyway. There are other recommendations, too, but the best one is at the end of  the article: “Remember to wear suncreen next time!”

I wish life were this simple. The Internet is awash with articles similar to “Ten ways to heal sunburn”.  There’s even a famous website called “How Stuff Works”. Unfortunately, life is a little more complicated than taking ten easy steps to a new “you”.

As I reflect on my life this morning, I am wishing I had heeded one piece of advice.  It came from the apostle Paul: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature]will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life (Galatians 6:7).”

As a younger man I blew this and other words from the Scriptures off. Now I am paying the price for it.

My response over time to this reaping of the whirlwhind was not good. I could have been given the nickname of the famous boxer from the 50s, Jake LaMotta. He was known as the “Raging Bull”.

God probably sat up there thinking,”What are you raging about? Didn’t I tell  you,’A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD?'(Proverbs 19:3)’?”

Somehow my rage escaped my notice.  It is hard to believe, but it did. It wasn’t until I had a big wake-up call that I began to acknowledge it and take action against it.

Unfortunately, while I am currently working to improve myself, the damage has been done.  The Bee Gees sang of the result:

“I can think of younger days when living for my life
Was everything a man could want to do.
I could never see tomorrow, but I was never told about the sorrow.

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.

I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees
And misty memories of days gone by
We could never see tomorrow, none said a word about the sorrow.”

How can you mend a broken heart? Good question. I Googled that this morning, too, and came up with an article called  “Heal My Broken Heart: 15 Steps To Heal”.

This relationship expert, Amelie Chance, had good advice. Most notably she encouraged her readers to answer the questions of the Gibbs brothers and learn to live again, to not give up.

Chance describes her own journey. Her own heart was broken and she was left feeling completely empty. Life was colored by this emptiness.

It was only after she knelt in despair in the bathroom of the company she was in charge of that she resolved to get over it. The first step was she got off her knees. She realized too many people were depending on her.

As the boss, Chance was responsible for the livelihood of a large number of people. She resolved to find the answers to healing. Although she read a plethora of materials, they only helped a little. It was then that she stumbled on some pyschology that has apparently helped her.

For the Christian, there is a better way than psychology, although I am sure it can be helpful.  It’s to follow the advice of the wise man of Proverbs. He wrote,”He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;  he who cherishes understanding prospers (Proverbs 19:8).”

This wise guy wrote something else: “He who obeys instructions guards his life, but he who is contemptuous of his ways will die (Proverbs 19:16).” Up until recently, I gave lip service to this wise man, but I really didn’t heed him, and death in life arrived.

So how does one answer the question the Bee Gees sang about. How do you mend a broken heart?

I have concluded that the best way for me to do that is to backtrack and do what  I should have done earlier in life: heed God’s Word well. It’s perfect, revives the soul and makes the simpleton wise (Psalm 19:7). It’s the source of wisdom the wise man wrote about.

The Bee Gees had their question and the the Psalmist had his own: “Who can discern his errors?” In his lyric he also asks God to “forgive my hidden faults (Psalm 19:12)”.

The Psalmist knew that God is able to bring our blind spots out into the light and deal with them. They don’t have to wreak havoc, as they have done with me and mine.

The Psalmist also knew that more blatant sin against God didn’t have to occur either:

” Keep your servant also from willful sins;
       may they not rule over me.
       Then will I be blameless,
       innocent of great transgression.

  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
       be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:13,14).”

Mr. Gibbs, the anwer to your question is that the One who makes the world go round (Psalm 19:1-6) is the Person who can mend a broken heart.  The apostle Paul, in a continuation of the advice I should have heeded in my younger days and Ms. Chance also have a good answer: don’t let life knock you on the floor. Get up and don’t give up.

Listening to God may be wearisome for some, as it was for me, but I’ve found it’s better to heed Him. If we don’t, we’re going to find ourselves scurrying around, wearing ourselves out trying to make amends for past mistakes.

Oh, Jeff, by the way, next time I will put on the sunscreen.






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