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Put on a happy face

Who’s the grumpiest Christian you know? That’s got you thinking. I’m wondering if you’re struggling to think of one or if you’re struggling to cut the list down to just one!


I recall, some years ago, a work colleague saying to me that whenever he went to the football he saw a Salvo collecting donations near the entry gate. He said that the Salvo always looked happy, and he commented to me: “I think it’s a mark of The Salvation Army that you people always look full of joy.”


I appreciated the comment but also thought, “Wow, you don’t know some of the Salvos I know.”


One of them soldiered at a corps I once attended; let’s call him Boris because I grew up watching Boris Badenov, grumpy antagonist to Rocky and Bullwinkle. Boris, the Salvo, was always grumpy and contrary. He’s the sort of guy that if I gave him a sack of gold, he’d complain about the weight.


Boris just couldn’t find anything good to say about anything or anyone, and he’d placed himself on his own little pedestal. He seemed to operate on the theory he was always the smartest guy in the room and was constantly upset that he had to associate with the fools and rabble that were the rest of the corps.


I spoke to a friend about Boris and how he was so contrary, and he smiled and said, “Don’t worry about him. Boris lives in Borisland, and he’s the only one who lives there.”


At one stage I thought I’d tell him a funny joke I’d heard, just to see if I could raise a smile with him. As I finished the joke, and others within earshot laughed, he just said, “Hmpf. What a dumb thing to say. Small minds, I suppose”, and he walked away.


So how do you cheer up a grumpy Christian? Here are three ideas you can try next time you’re with them.


1. Say to them, “Let’s turn that frown upside down”, and put your fingers next to their mouth and push the corners of their mouth up. They might then smile at you. They might also hit you. Who knows? At least you tried.


2. Slip a whoopy cushion under them when they sit down after a congregational song. Never fails. I’m sure they’ll laugh and laugh and laugh. Go on, try it next Sunday.


3. Say to them, “O, wise one, would you please mentor me in the ways of life and faith of which I am sadly ignorant and of which thou art knowledgeable and exemplary. It would please me no end to become more like you, my hero and true master.” Now THAT would make them smile.


Or, and perhaps this is the best solution, just keep smiling and leave them alone in their grumpiness. They’ll really love that.


– Major Mal Davies and his wife Major Tracey are the Corps Officers at Adelaide City Salvos



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