Have you ever found you are in the middle of a very awkward situation and didn’t know exactly what to do? Barney Fife did.
Sheriff Taylor had misconstrued the new lady druggist’s gift of an ice cream cone to Andy’s boy, Opie. Through some wild imagining Andy thought that ice cream cone to Opie was a “down payment on a husband.”
Andy planned a scheme of his own. He knew he had to turn that “desperate hunter” to other game. Andy started sending one guy after another into the drug store to try to steal Ellie’s heart. It did not work and eventually Ellie figured out what Andy was doing.
Andy shows up at the drug store and Ellie starts giving him an ear full. She told him how arrogant he was in more than one way as Andy stood there speechless. Ellie concluded her rant by telling Andy she had no desire to marry him or even go to the church dance with him. In fact, she said she would go to the church dance with the first eligible man who walked through the door. Guess who entered? That’s right, ole reliable Barney Fife. Ellie heads straight for him and declared that Barney was taking her to the dance without giving him any option.
As Ellie turns and walks away Barney looks at Andy and says, “I just came in for some foot powder!”
The look on Barney’s face at being put into such an awkward situation was priceless.
You ever been in one of those moments? 28 years of pastoring has permitted me to be in plenty of them. Most of them occurring during hospital visits. One time this lady says to her husband as I am standing at the foot of his bed… never mind, I still haven’t recovered.
In those awkward moments we struggle what to say and what to do.
The book that James wrote that we have in the bible has some good, sound advice. James 1:19 says, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” Come to think about it, those words are good to apply in any situation. We often do the exact opposite in awkward situations and tense moments between people. We may think we have got to settle this situation and end up saying the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong spirit.
The next time you find you are in one of those moments, maybe Barney and his foot powder will come to your mind. More importantly however, think of James’ words. Listen intently, speak thoughtfully, and don’t let anger rule.