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|You Can’t Bluff With the Cards on the Table
By: Dr. Skip Myers
web posted August 15, 2005
He had been told not to back down but to talk tough, square his jaw, squint his eyes and the bully would most certainly leave him alone. The only problem was no one bothered to inform the bully of this strategy. So the bluff was placed on the table and the fist was placed on the nose. It was at this point our hero was informed that bluffing seldom works unless you have what it takes to back it up in which case you really can’t call it bluffing at that point.
The art of bluffing is taught on numerous channels each night as the poker craze continues to rise. The one thing about bluffing is that if you are playing against someone who hasn’t got a clue then it might be a safe gamble. If they don’t have the skill level to know you are bluffing then you can make yourself believable. The goal of a bluff is to have the other person back down and let you have it your way. You make them believe you have something that you really don’t have. Instead of taking the chance, they simply let you walk away the winner without ever making you prove what you have.
Calling a person’s bluff means you are forced to show your hand and back up what you are saying. At this point, you had better have what you say you have or you will most certainly lose. We have all heard the saying, “You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” There will come a time where we are asked to back up what we say we have. Someone will eventually call our bluff.
Bluffing demands that we present ourselves to be something we are not. We attempt to make others think we are, when we are not, in hopes that they will accept, believe, submit, leave, or obey. I worked in a hardware store while in high school. One day I was waiting on a customer dressed in overalls with a big cigar hanging out of his mouth and a tape measure on his side. He asked for a certain construction item I had never heard of before so I decided to bluff my way through the encounter. I asked him, in my most professional sounding voice, what size he needed. His facial expression told me immediately that my bluff had been called. He asked me if there was anyone around who actually knew what they were talking about.
Having your bluff called is a terrible feeling. You feel all alone and embarrassed. Immediately, you know you are about to lose something whether it’s money, pride, dignity, or self-respect. Life has a way of calling our bluffs. It seems as though life is always one ounce heavier than we can handle or one step ahead of where we are trying to go. And here we are marching confidently through life giving others the impression we have everything under control. Giving a “super-spiritual” impression while in the pews on Sunday while inwardly praying no one will call our bluff.
The one thing we can be assured of is that we cannot bluff a God who knows all. You can bluff His church, bluff His people, and even bluff His preachers but you cannot bluff the Lord. He knows the truth about us and the miraculous thing is that in spite of our attempts to bluff, He still loves us passionately. The only way to live in peace is to live in truth. There’s little difference between bluffing and lying. Dishonesty is heavy on a life. Jesus told us, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
The truth may not always make us look good in the eyes of others. The temptation to bluff our way through life is strong and we will be successful enough times to keep it a temptation. But rest assured, there will be an occasion when we are found out. When our bluff is called and don’t be surprised if it’s the Lord who does the calling. He cannot say He loves us and simply ignore the fact that we are trying to be something we are not.
His desire is to make us into something that resembles His image of love and grace. This process takes dedication and patience on our part. Shortchanging it by bluffing only serves to weaken our relationship with Him and damage our relationship with others. Ask the Lord to take you were you are and begin to do what it takes to live a life of truth. Truth is a more joyful and lighter way to live.
Put your cards on the table. The Lord already knows what you are holding. Learn to love as honestly as He loves you. Get rid of the fear bluffing brings to life and know the freedom of living in the truth of the Lord.
Dr. Myers is Pastor of Smiths Station Baptist Church, Smiths Station Alabama and a former Youth Minister of Sweetwater Baptist Church (1981-1986)
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