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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Listen, Learn, and Honor.

The current issue in our household is the daily telemarketer calling to gather funds for X charity. The episode goes something like this. Ring..... Ring..... Ring......

Me: Hello. (Silence and clicking on the other end of the line.)

Me: Hello. (slightly agitated)

Voice on the other end: Hello, is Mr Meyers there? (Voice sounds odd, like it is computerized.)

Me: Sorry, There is no Mr. Meyers living here. You have the wrong number.

Voice on the other end: (Haltingly) Oh, that's okay. Maybe you can help me. I am representing X charity and I am seeking donations to help X charity support their cause. Can we send you a pledge card?

Me: (listening politely to the spiel) I already support X charity and will you please take my name or Mr. Meyer's name and phone number off your call list? Thanks.

Voice on the other end: (Not willing to take 'no' for an answer.) We realize things are tough and money management is important, would you consider a one time donation of $25 over and above what you currently offer to help us out?

Me: Please take this number off your call list or I will contact the FCC. Thank you. (Click.) [The voice on the other end is going into a new level of sales pitch as the line goes dead.]

Respect and courtesy are hallmarks of reputable organizations and dare I say people. If we seek a confab with someone and they decline, it is customary and in good taste to apologize and break off the request. It just makes good sense to do so. Why then does the telemarketer continue to burrow in deeper and deeper upon the first and then second declinations for solicitation?

First, let's define the rules of the game. I support charities of all stripes. It is part of being a good citizen and follower of Christ to share what we can to help others. What distresses me is when a charity (or the person representing them) uses deceptive practices to obtain cooperation from unsuspecting phone call recipients. I am able to assertively disengage from said telemarketers but I wonder how senior citizens with failing faculties respond to these calls? Are they duped to donate money even though the phone call was for someone other than them? In the last 3-4 weeks, I have received calls for Mr. Meyers, Rosamond, Carol, Mrs. Simmons, and a few others I can't remember. (Both home phone and cell phone)

"A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies." (Proverbs 14:5, NIV)

"Do not testify against your neighbor without cause, or use your lips to deceive. (Proverbs 24:28, NIV)

Dealing with these daily interruptions has brought me to consider my own interactions. Do I listen closely to the other party when they decline my conversation? Am I honoring Christ by honoring their privacy? Or, do I drive forward with my agenda taking precedence over the wishes of another to be left alone? Do I deceive? God forbid!

Honoring another's wishes and refraining from deception seem to go hand in hand with living godly lives. I choose to offer grace to those with whom I meet and give them honor by actually listening to them. I choose to not attach strings of deception into my words or requests. I choose to learn their story and value them as I would hope they would do likewise. Listening, learning, and honoring are not difficult to do (Unless you are trying to raise money for X charity and won't take 'no' for an answer).

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