Have you ever noticed how many ways there are to peel an orange?
Some just dig in with their nails. Others cut off the top and bottom and cut a line across the fruit in order to have a place to start. Some slice the orange in 6-8 pieces and then eat it off the peel. Some cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice out of each half…
I’m sure there are those who really don’t care how to peel an orange… As long as you are able to get to the fruit underneath… Of course, there are those who swear by one way over another. For example, I love my oranges cut in sections, and I eat them off the peel; while my husband much prefers to peel his oranges before he tries to eat them. In the end, however, we both eat our oranges!
So why am I writing about something as insignificant as peeling an orange?
Because there is more than one way to accurately do many of the things that we are required to do in life. And in the same way, there are those who swear by one way over another, and in regards to things more important than peeling oranges, differences in opinion about how things should be accomplished have led to misunderstandings, arguments, even fights.
Should we be arguing with one another over how to peel an orange?
Should we be fighting with one another over how to do things that are more important than peeling oranges?
The answer to both questions is found in the word of God: “Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.” (Romans 15:7 NLT); and “Do not judge others…” (Matthew 7:1a NLT)
The point is, whenever there is a difference of opinion, we need to take the time to think before we react. We need to ask ourselves if it really makes a difference how the orange gets peeled – or how the other things that truly are important get done – as long as they get done.
So often I’ve been pretty stuck in my ways about how to do things, always resisting ideas of others and criticizing how they do things. There have been times, however, when I’ve been made to understand that the ideas of another actually were good ones, that they accomplished the same purpose, and sometimes in an even more efficient manner…
When you think about it, it really all boils down to pride. Our pride stands in the way of accepting others the way they are. Our pride keeps us from seeing that there is truly more than one way to “peel an orange” – do whatever the task is that is before you.
Several years ago, my partner on the team I served went on maternity leave and a replacement was brought in part-time, someone who was known for her expertise in the area and the excellent results she received. I was immediately on my guard, and my pride ballooned. After all, what we were doing was working well. We didn’t need anyone to come in and tell us how to accomplish our job!
Things went fairly well at first, or so I thought. Then one day, during a performance appraisal exercise, I was asked to ask my colleagues how it was to work with me. Imagine my shock and horror to get the first negative feedback of my entire career! This colleague brought in to replace my partner had nothing but shockingly bad things to say about me!
I’m ashamed to say it took me quite some time to forgive this person, and in order to do so, God had to put a few pins in the balloon of my pride. The next hurdle was reconciling with this colleague, for ever since the performance appraisal exercise, working with her had become like working with an ice berg. I was praying about this one day, and God said, “Ask her to teach you her methods!”
What? God wanted me to consider a different technique than the time-honored one that worked for me?
I argued with God for a bit, but as we all know, this is a senseless exercise. God wanted me to experiment with other ways to “peel my orange” so to speak.
I spent a bit of time praying for humility, and then one day I asked my colleague if I could observe some of her treatment sessions. I admitted that since our methods differed, I was sure there was something I could learn from her.
You’ve never seen anyone’s mouth drop so far…
I did observe this colleague, and what I learned not only changed my entire approach to treating patients, but also helped them to get better faster. It did something else, too: It broke the ice with my colleague. She and I became partners in the true sense of the word. She learned from me, I learned from her, and in the end, both her other job and my program benefited. And it was all because God convicted me there were other ways to “peel an orange” – to run my program.
What situation do you find yourself in where you can learn from someone else? Don’t be like me: Don’t let your pride get in the way. Instead, humble yourself and learn that there is “more than one way to peel an orange”! Remember what the world’s wisest man says? “Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.” (Proverbs 9:9 NLT). One sign of wisdom is that it continues to seek instruction, so go out there and learn other ways to “peel your orange”!
I don’t know who this devotional is meant for today, but it didn’t come from me. Whenever this happens, I know that God has an important message for someone out there. If this is you, and you need help in this area, please feel free to let me know! You can email me here.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two adult boys, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, The Illustrator, a four-times-a-week internet newsletter, and the Sermon Illustrator website, all with Answers2Prayer Ministries.