Lessons from my Birthday bash


September 13, 2014 by John Nicholas Prassas

IMG_5482Last Sunday was my birthday.   Last Saturday is when my new car got bashed.

Some dude in a Hummer backed into my recently acquired and dearly beloved ’07 Mercedes E-350, the pristine, low-mileage vehicle I had located and purchased as an early birthday present.

I had encouraged Suzi to drive the sleek black sedan to her hairdresser’s that afternoon, where she watched in horror as the aforementioned Hummer backed into her…slowly and obliviously…in the parking lot, despite her repeated horn blasts to warn the other driver.

You can imagine how upset she was when she called me, and how I fell into instant shock and dismay.  Seriously??  On the eve of my $#%&%!!! birthday?

She then texted me the photo you see above.  What can you say when a beautiful MBZ grill gets crunched?  I felt like a kid who’s favorite new toy broke before his birthday candles were even lit.

I was not a happy camper.

But at least nobody got hurt, I told myself.   The damage could have been much worse and it’s just a car after all, just another possession that ‘moth and dust will ultimately destroy.’  So I shook off my despair and got to work on Monday calling the Hummer’s insurance company and getting repair estimates.  Everything went smoothly until…

Tuesday morning when my insurance company called to report the Hummer dude was claiming bodily injury!

“What a scam!”  I protested, as I calculated the out-of-pocket expenses I would have to incur if the Hummer dude denied responsibility for the damage he had caused.

I was fuming all day, ready for war, the Hummer dude had become my mortal enemy!

But a funny thing happened on the way to the battlefield.

That night I met with the men’s ministry group at church and began teaching about our high calling to bless others with supernatural love.

Toward the end of the meeting I felt provoked to share about my bashed car, the Hummer dude and my deep frustration.  That’s when I recalled Jesus’ command to love our enemies and bless those who mistreat us.

Now I had to forgive the Hummer dude.  Not IF he apologized or AFTER he admitted fault, either.  I needed to forgive him and even bless him, regardless of the outcome or his actions positive or negative.

As I commanded my soul in this heavenly direction, God’s spirit did what he always does when we go with his flow and supplied a mega-dose of mercy and compassion with the recognition that we’re all insecure, defensive and self-serving by nature, apart from God’s grace.

So I spoke forth forgiveness and prayed blessings upon this other man and asked my fellow Sons of Thunder to help pray for him as well – whether he was a scam artist or a regular guy – that God would bless his soul.

After doing these things I felt lighter and happier and was no longer worried about the financial impact of the accident.  I simply felt goodwill toward all men as our meeting broke and I stepped out into the night air.

So what happened the next morning?

The Hummer’s insurance company called to finalize their report.  They had just spoken to the other driver who apparently took responsibility and said nothing about bodily injury.  All they needed was a quick chat with Suzi and they’d be cutting me a check for repairs.

Kaboom!  I could almost hear the thunderous shockwaves of answered prayer and of another man’s changed heart.

What lessons can we learn?

1.) Be careful with your toys (and other prized possessions), but be more careful not to cherish them too dearly.  They are easily scratched, stained, dented or broken and they all turn to dust, rust or must in the end.

2.) Forgiveness and blessing are powerful beyond our comprehension.

3.) God’s gifts are given and received every day, so keep your eyes open and your heart ready to give and receive them.

4.) My birthday bash became a blessing of eternal value – and so can any circumstance you encounter.

Let’s pray:

Thank you Heavenly Father for this day and every day.  Help us to receive your forgiveness and share it with others and extend your blessing to everyone we meet, no matter what our circumstances.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen!

Got any related thoughts or experiences? Please comment at bottom of page.

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6 thoughts on “Lessons from my Birthday bash

  1. James Hetherington says:

    Good words, John

    Thanks for the good news.


  2. Jim Gonzalez says:

    Good on you. Thanks for sharing life’s lessons. Not much of a car guy, but yours sounds pretty nice. Keep up the good walk and keep keeping it real.
    Love you, Jim G.

  3. Robin Seaber says:

    Happy Belated Birthday brother and boy did I need your lesson this week (every week to be honest). Especially this one related to me in the area of dealing with my sister in law (brother’s wife). So thank you for it John even though it started for you with a bashed front end Mercedes! Blessings and love to you and Suzi:) Robin

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