CHRISTIAN COMMENT Improving life or how to treat people properly

IT’S funny the things you learn when you’re not expecting it.

I’ve been learning all sorts of things recently.

For instance, there are a number of laws that operate around the mundane tasks of daily life:

* the day you forget to put the bins out is at the end of a week when your bins are full to overflowing

* there is always a teaspoon at the bottom of the washing up bowl (or stuck in the dishwasher cutlery holder)

* when a well known supermarket delivers your shopping, there will often be a substitution that has no relation to the original item ordered

* it’s very hard to know when any blue-veined cheese is too old to eat

And there are snippets that while less regularly observed, are nonetheless true:

* blow in a dog’s face and he won’t like it. But take him on a car ride and he wants to stick his head out of the window

* it takes three weeks to break a habit, but a really dedicated monk can rip one in two

* if you’re a tightrope walker in a circus, dropping a line to your girlfriend can get you fired

The comedy club I run in Worthing recently had a young improv group come and perform, and they gamely agreed to run a workshop before the gig.

It was a small but select bunch who turned up to take part, and we got all the more out of it because of that.

One of the first things they taught us was the importance in improvisation of “accepting and adding to” a situation.

Someone imagines a scene, or a character, or an emotion – and for performers to make something of it, they need to take it at face value, and then enhance it.

It got me thinking about the way we treat those we know – both friends and family, and those less known to us.

How easily do we accept people at face value?

There may be lovable and likeable things about them, but there are most likely plenty of other things that irritate us or which we really dislike.

Do we accept them as they are – or immediately want to change them?

Think about God’s approach to us: imperfect, flawed, sinful human beings.

He doesn’t require us to reach an approved standard before he will work with us – he loves us and accepts us just as we are.

Yet he loves us too much to leave us that way.

He wants to transform us into the people we were created to be.

* Russ Bravo is editor of Inspire magazine, runs Matt’s Comedy Club in Worthing and sometimes forgets to put the bins out