Unfinished Business

Man-hanging-on-a-branchTom and I have been friends for many years, and I love him to a fault. Which is convenient since he regularly confesses his faults. He’s a sincere but weak believer who is sick of his own weaknesses and moral lapses, sick of himself, really. And he has been for as long as I’ve known him. I regularly pray for his progress, however gradual, but sometimes fear he’s stuck in the rinse-and-repeat pattern of: 1) feel bad about self, 2) announce to the world that you are human feces, 3) gather “you’re not that bad!” responses, 4) bolstered by responses, feel better about self for awhile, 5) repeat cycle.

I understand Tom’s zaftig need for approval (although I’m more comfortable in my fur, I too crave petting), so I’m often among his encouragers. But in doing so I fear I may be contributing to the cycle.

So a couple of days ago, in response to his latest “I’m a piece of crap!” announcement, in which he expressed the desire for God to finally end his worthless existence, I took a different tack. Being careful to identify with him (easy to do), I wrote:

“Tom, unfortunately, or fortunately, God is not in the escape-provision business. He tends to keep us around until our work on others and on ourselves is done. Ironically, it seems that the people who have “everything to live for” are the ones He calls home. The rest of us have too much unfinished business to complete to take an eternal holiday just yet. As a reminder of this, and of why it must be so, I regularly recite James 1:2-3:

“‘Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various trials. Remember that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And perseverance, when it has finished its work, will make you mature and complete, lacking in nothing.’”

So press on, Tom. Finish your business, no matter how long it takes. It’s worth it. Infinitely worth it.

Love, your equally slow growing brother,


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Unfinished Business

  1. I have found the only way to get our minds off ourselves is to get heavily involved in other people.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Wow – has this ever challenged me–both to grow and to stop being the stumbling block to others’ growth. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Julanne says:

    Such an enlightening way to look at this situation! Ever grateful I found your blog!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. phillswrites says:

    Boy, Tom is fortunate to have a thoughtful and committed friend like you.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Jennie says:

    Excellent, Mitch. Time will tell if this approach with Tom worked.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Excellent! And very true, Mitch. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us as well! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tom is one lucky guy! :O)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. hannahtk says:

    On the same wave length today brother. Thank God for His patience and grace.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Merry Lark says:

    Thank you for this encouraging word.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. mike2all says:

    Interesting read.


    Liked by 2 people

  11. Very nice post, Mitch. To a certain degree, we all possess the trait of Tom. Some people are lucky to use it to an advantage, and some are lucky enough to sustain it. Not quite sure which is the norm.
    Thank you,

    Liked by 2 people

  12. So encouraging! Thank the lord for the Gift of word of wisdom which he has given you…it helps me alot!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Ann Coleman says:

    That was a very wise response. Although all of us have the need for the approval and encouragement of others, it can become addictive if we allow it. And then that gets in the way of us dealing with our issues and problems. The reminder that God expects more of us is a good one, especially since God promises to walk with us every step of the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks…the perseverance was just what I needed to read right now! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  15. gpavants says:


    I needed that today! Yep! Tell your friend when life gives you crap make manure.

    In Christ,


    Liked by 2 people

  16. gerrymackrell says:

    Good advice for all. James 1:2

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Gritty Momma says:

    This is beautifully encouraging. Thanks, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. changeofheartjournal says:

    Thanks for this Mitch. As a sometime depressive, I often have Tom cycles too. I had one last night, I wanted to throw it all in but I gained strength by coming on here. Spending the time writing on here and reading others posts. I realised that if others had such a great affect on me on lifting me up, I could be that lift to others still if I stopped staring at my navel. Reading this made me cry and really touched my heart. We really do have to be the change we want to see in the world. The world wont give it to us every time.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. tiostib says:

    Well said, much needed. Thanks for putting your real self out in the world!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Keith Mosher says:

    This was my life as a Christian for many many years, until I found the root of the problem and now have never gone back… praise God.

    Your friend Tom, in all likelihood, has to learn to forgive…. himself.

    Only until he can forgive himself for his past and leave it at the foot of the cross where it should be, will he be free to grown in Christ and Man of God. Our common enemy the Devil uses self-condemnation as the primary weapon to destroy our witness and testimony. Tom is consistently fed negative thoughts that run contrary to God’s Word… and his battle lies within his own mind as he learns to struggle to control his thought life, and not let his thoughts control him.

    There is hope for him If he can learn to forgive… I wrote about this recently…

    I will be praying for your friend

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I loved this response. This really helped me get through my day. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Pingback: My Top Ten Blog Posts of 2018 | Mitch Teemley

  23. Ron Bouchard says:

    Aww, you got it my brother! Our lives are His. May he be glorified. I enjoy your posts. I wish I could read them more regularly. I respect your prodigious writing/creativity. I wish I knew your secret! (I think, perhaps, I do. His name is Jesus!)
    His blessings, Ron

    Liked by 1 person

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