The most annoying man in the room is the person who stops at nothing to prove how important he is.
Sometimes he does this by trying to tell a better story than you.
“I was at Starbucks yesterday and I saw Tom Hanks.”
“That’s nothing. I was at Home Depot and Tom Hanks asked me to come help him build his new deck.”
Sometimes he does it by casting doubt on your facts. In this approach, his sentence always starts with the word actually.
“Man, that Colonel Sanders sure makes some good chicken.”
“Actually, Colonel Sanders has been dead for a long time so he’s not the one that makes the chicken at KFC.”
And a lot of times this guy just wants to show the world that he’s better, tougher, more spiritual and funnier than you are.
“And that’s when the cop starting cussing at me for no good reason and then threatened to beat me before he drove off.”
“Well, if that would have been me, I would have told him a thing or two and then called my good friend, the governor of the state of Georgia.”
I’ve been guilty of all of these annoying tactics at different moments in my life but the last one is my real specialty. I use the If That Would’ve Been Me Phrase a lot.
Mostly when I read the Bible.
It all started when I was a kid in Sunday School learning about Adam and Eve. I convinced myself that, had I been in Adam’s place, I would have refused the snake’s offer just before killing him with my own two hands. Sanders saves the universe!
If that would’ve been me.
Last week I started preparing to preach through the book of Jonah and it happened again. I thought about what I would do if I was in Jonah’s place. Of course, I would do what God told me to do. No need for a great fish.
If that would have been me.
But in reality, I’m just like Jonah. I run away like Jonah did every time I disobey God. Failure to love my wife like Jesus loved the church, failure to raise up my sons in the discipline and instruction of the Lord and shying away from leading the church where God has placed me are all attempts to jump a ship headed for Tarshish.
If that would’ve been me, I would’ve would’ve gone to Tarshish too.
But Jesus didn’t.
Jonah refused to go to Nineveh because it was an enemy city. He could get killed. Jesus obeyed his Father and came to his enemies (Romans 5:6-8), knowing that he would get killed (Matthew 1:21).
Jonah ran from the idea of having anything to do with the unclean people of Nineveh. His hatred kept him from obeying. Jesus ran towards the unclean people of earth (Ephesians 2:1-3). His obedience came from his love for his Father and the world (John 3:16; 17).
Jonah’s story is not included in the Bible so that I can feel better about myself by thinking about what I would have done if I was in his position. And it’s not in the Bible just so that I can get down on myself, always being reminded of my frequent flyer mileage to Tarshish. It’s there so that I can see Jesus. A man who obeyed his Father, even to the point of death (Philippians 2:5-11), by laying down his life for me, the most annoying man in the room.