Human Relations Sermon Illustrations

Human Relations Sermon Illustrations

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A man was putting up a sign, Puppies for Sale, and before he had driven the last nail there was a small boy standing at his side. That kind of sign seems to attract small boys. The youngster wanted to know how much the puppies were going to cost. The man told him they were very good dogs and that he didn't expect to let any of them go for less than thirty-five or fifty dollars. There was a look of disappointment, and then a question: "I've got $2 37 Could I look at them?"

The man whistled and called "Lady!"—and out of the kennel and down the runway came Lady, followed by four or five little balls of fur, with one lagging considerably behind. The boy spotted the laggard and, pointing, asked, "What’s wrong with him?" The reply was that the veterinarian had said that there was no hip socket in the right hip and that the dog would always be lame. The boy's immediate rejoinder was, "That's the one I want to buy. I'll give you $2.37 down and fifty cents a month 'til I get him paid for." The man smiled and shook his head. "That's not the dog you want. That dog will never be able to run and jump and play with you."

The boy, very matter-of-factly, pulled up his little trouser leg and revealed a brace running down both sides of his badly twisted right leg and under the foot with a leather cap over the knee.

"I don't run so well myself," he said, "and he'll need somebody that understands him."

Yes, just a boy and a dog, but they stand for a great truth of our time. What we need desperately is the desire and the concern to understand.—Matthew Hill, Judge, Supreme Court, State of Washington, National Parent-Teacher


If you would stand well with a great mind, leave him with a favorable impression of yourself; if with a little mind, leave him with a favorable opinion of himself—Wisconsin Journal of Education


Some 50 years ago the symbol of human relations was all too often physical force—the fist! Twenty-five years later, it became verbal abuse—the tongue! Current-day thinking has changed the symbol—to the mind!—Saul Silverstein


Most young folk are familiar with such Indian expressions as "burying the hatchet" and "smoking the peace pipe." But how many ever heard of "setting up sticks" to settle a quarrel?

If two Seneca boys fell to quarreling, the mother would say to them, "Go and set up your sticks." The boys knew what this meant. They were to go some distance from the lodge and set up three sticks in tripod form. The quarrel must then be left with the sticks for one moon (month). At the end of that time the position of the sticks would determine who was right, but they must be sure to leave the quarrel with the sticks, and in the meantime the boys would have to go back to their work or play. They might have agreed that if the sticks at the end of the moon leaned toward the rising sun, Running Deer was right, but if they leaned toward the setting sun, Flying Squirrel was right. But if they had fallen down, neither one was right. Because of the action of the wind and the rain, the sticks usually did fall down.—Sunshine Magazine


If you ride a horse, sit close and tight; if you ride a man, sit easy and light.—Ben Franklin, quoted in Indianapolis Star Magazine


Fred Nauheim offers a correspondence tip for letter writers: "Don't answer letters—answer people."—Executive's Digest


It makes absolutely no difference how much you know, if you can't tell anybody about it and be persuasive, it won't do.—Clarence Randall, quoted by Lionel Crocker, Professor of Speech, Denison University, Vital Speeches


Henry David Thoreau: "I had three chairs in my house—one for solitude, two for friends, and three for society."—Friendly Chat


A narrative in the twelfth chapter of Judges related how Jephthah, judge of Israel, found himself faced with an attack by Ephraimites. After the Ephraimitish army had crossed the Jordan, Jephthah executed a flanking movement, getting a portion of his army between the Ephraimites and the Jordan He thereby secured control of all of the fords or, as the King James Version puts it, "the passes" of the Jordan. This was to cut off the retreat of the Ephraimites in the event that Jephthah and his men of Gilead were successful in the battle.

To distinguish friends from enemies, Jephthah chose "Shibboleth" as a password, knowing that the Ephraimites had difficulty with the "sh" sound and "could not frame to pronounce it right."

The Ephraimites were defeated, and they came rushing pell-mell back to the Jordan in an effort to get to their own country. When they found Jephthah's men in command of the passes, they denied that they were Ephraimites. But when they were confronted with the challenge, "Say now Shibboleth," they said "Sibboleth." That trifling defect proved them to be enemies. "And there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand."

You may perhaps be wondering what this tale out of the Old Testament has to do with our problems today. The answer is very simple. The Ephraimites were confronted with a challenge—"Pronounce or perish." They could not pronounce, so they perished. It is my belief that we too are confronted with a challenge of "Pronounce or perish," that our learning, our skills and techniques will avail us nothing if we are unable to meet it. The word we must pronounce is the personal pronoun we.

It is not the phonetics of pronunciation but the connotation which we give the word that is of vital importance in our times. When we say we, we are ordinarily using it as a term of exclusion, as something that separates us from somebody else. It is "We, the Democrats," and "We, the Republicans"; "We, industry," "We, labor." We need an all-inclusive we.

Before we can pronounce the pronoun we as such a term, we must be able to pronounce certain other personal pronouns. We must be able to pronounce the pronoun I with a nice sense of balance between responsibility on the one hand and humility on the other—a humility that recognizes our obligation to those who have gone before and appreciates the heritage of liberty, freedom, and justice which they bequeathed to us.

We must be able to pronounce other pronouns too, such as he, she, and they, with some understanding of his, her, and their hopes, aims, and aspirations. Understanding coupled with concern is surely one of the great needs of the hour.—Matthew Hill, Judge, Supreme Court, State of Washington, National Parent- Teacher

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