"You're a raging hypocrite!" J.B. Perkins shouted at Don Piper as reported in the book and in the film version of 90 Minutes in Heaven. Don was still a hospital patient when J.B. asked, "Can I get something for you?"
No matter what J.B. suggested, Don said no.
That's when he said, "You're a raging hypocrite!" He pointed out that Don had been helpful to others; now they had a chance to do something for him and he wouldn't let them.
Don needed to hear those words. They're also words I need to hear, even though I long ignored them. It's a struggle to say, "I need . . ." or "I'd like . . ." when people want to help.
Part of the reason comes from growing up doing for others and denying my own needs. As a child, I absorbed the message, "Don't ask and you won't be disappointed. You can do it yourself."
The other part troubles me more: I like to assume I'm self-sufficient. If you asked me, I'd deny that; the truth, however, is that I want to see myself as self-reliant and independent.
At our church, pastor Owen Stepp occasionally asks us to get into groups of three or four with these instructions. "Tell them one thing for which you're thankful and one thing for which you need prayer." The first is easy; the second makes me uncomfortable. I dislike it when he does that, but I also know I need to be forced to express a need and ask for others' prayers.
Just like everybody else, I need to rely on others. That's the single, biggest lesson I'm learning this year.