Editor's Note: After Mr. Armstrong's sermon in Tucson September 18, Mr. Rader spoke to the congregation about several aspects of faith. His comments were transcribed and now we would like to share them with our readers.
Greetings, everyone. Last week in Pasadena, when Mr. Armstrong spoke, I commented that he's a very difficult man to follow because he not only is such a powerful and inspirational speaker, but he chooses those topics that are really in the front part of our minds. So I sit here with yellow pad while he is speaking and I have to kind of tick off those things which he's already said. On the other hand, if I were to speak ahead of him, which I've had to do on occasion, I, of course, would not want to preempt him. Therefore!, I trust that you will bear with me today as I wander through some of the things that I have made notes of as he has spoken, and things which I would like to share with you.
First of all, I think most of you have probably recognized that there are a lot of books out today. Even though you might not be reading them, there is a tremendous increase in the reading audiences around the world. And if you were to study the books in the bookstores, look at the bestseller lists, you would find a tremendous emphasis today on what has been called "how to do it" books. And if you look at those books, you would see that they are dealing with how to improve your position, how to become successful, how to get power. "You too can be Number One" — in fact, that's a title. Your Erroneous zones, another title on how to improve your position in this life.
All of these books just simply make people more selfish, more egocentric, more concerned about themselves rather than about their fellow man. And it's rather interesting that this is the trend of the late 70s and probably will go on right into the 80s despite the fact that most of us will recall that in the 60s — particularly the late 60s and early 70s — we had what appeared to be a different movement, short-lived as it turned out to be. That was the movement where our younger people and our so-called enlightened people were more and more concerned about the environment, more and more concerned about the social issues of the time.
But right now, if you would just look on the bookstore shelves, you would see one book after another, some written by doctors, some by psychologists, some by sociologists, some written by people with not even those credentials — just people who thought it might be a good idea to tell others how they, too, can gain success. And the interesting thing is, in many cases, the men who write the books never had any success until they wrote the books dealing with "YOU TOO CAN BE A SUCCESS." And somehow or other, these books sell enough copies to make two or three million dollars. And that makes the particular authors successful.
I caution you about those books because it has become the kind of chic thing today to think in terms of the behavioral scientists, who seem to have the answers to everything. But the Bible, it's always ignored.
As Mr. Armstrong and I were discussing last week in his study in Tucson, if you were to listen to the behavioral scientists on the subject of child rearing, you would very soon have to do away with the fifth commandment, honor thy parents. Because as you well know, those behavioral scientists teach their disciples that you shouldn't expect a child to automatically give respect to the parent — that the parent must "earn" that respect. Before you know it, not only are the parents sparing the rod and spoiling the child, but the child is literally running wild and the parents are very soon fearful of their own children. I assure you that most juvenile delinquency is a direct result in almost every case of the failure of the parent to raise the child according to biblical principles. In many cases the parent is so fearful of the child, not only of the child's disapproval and disrespect, but sometimes even fearful of the child in a physical way. And therefore, there can be no discipline in the home. And parents just simply raise their hands and say there's nothing we can do about it.
I mention all of that because I too just recently read an article, which wasn't bad actually. It was on the subject of fear, success and failure. But the important ingredient that I found that was missing was faith. The article didn't tell you how to overcome your fear in order to achieve some measure of success. And I felt t hat it would be good to share with you today my feelings about how to overcome fear of any kind, and of course, to do so, one falls back on a gift of God called faith.
But I'm sure there are some of you in this congregation today who at some time in your life have been afraid to try because you've been afraid to fail. Many are so fearful of failure that they are literally frozen by that fear. People don't want to risk a hurt or an embarrassment that might come from a failure. So very often they venture nothing.
I recall when my younger daughter was about 17 and she began to open up a little bit to me about some of her emotional attachments, particularly with members of the opposite sex, we had a very important discussion. And I told her in the process that if she were going to learn to love someone and love someone deeply enough to have that kind of concern for that person that will lead to the kind of relationship that will be lasting, that she was going to have to overcome the fear of being hurt. She was going to have to overcome the fear of not having that love or that affection returned. And I think that whatever I told my daughter on that occasion had some effect because she began to form the right kind of relationships with young men, and she's now married and seems to have found a man who feels exactly the way about her that she feels about him. But unless she had been willing, as I explained, to be vulnerable, to be hurt, if necessary, in case that love was not returned, she would without a doubt not find the kind of mate that would lead to the kind of relationship that she hoped for.
My other daughter on the other hand, may not have given as much in her relationships with others. Although she is very successful at what she's doing, a very accomplished young lady, and now a prosecuting attorney for the City of Los Angeles, she's always kept back a little bit of herself in her dealings with other people, kind of maintaining that edge, keeping that little competitive edge, you might say. And as a consequence in doing that, she probably has not given as much affection and she has remained a bit more invulnerable. But now she's 26, she'll soon be 27, and she's still like Jenny, who can't make up her mind. I'm not advertising here for a husband for my daughter, but I'm pointing out that I've watched the two children very closely, and they have both succeeded in what they have tried to do. But just watching their human relations, I've noticed that one was able to give a little bit more of herself without being fearful of failure, without being fearful of embarrassment, without being fearful of being hurt.
Now this fear of failure becomes more or less an emotional paralysis which. can be just as crippling as a physical paralysis can be for the body.
I know myself one time, only one time, did I almost fail to try for fear of failing, and that was when I decided to return to law school. I knew that in order to do that, it would be very difficult because I was raising a family and I was running a professional business. My time was very, very much taken up by those two things. Law school is not easy. And, therefore, while I enrolled, I was for the first two months or so, contemplating each day, well, "maybe I shouldn't bother doing this at all." Maybe this is going to be too difficult. Maybe this is going to be too demanding. Back in the recesses of my mind was the fear during those first several months that maybe I couldn't make it or maybe I wouldn't do as well as I wanted to do, or maybe I wouldn't do as well as I had been accustomed to doing. And I tell you, at that time, for a period of some 60 days, I carne very, very close a few times, on almost the flimsiest of reasons or pretexts, to drop out of that law school program. I think looking back now, that was really corning very close to being afraid to try because I was afraid of failing.
Now, in talking about failure and success, it's important to remember that we've all been inculcated by a value system that we have picked up from our peer group and from other people around us. Too often, the measure of success has to do with the acquisition of material things and the acquisition of money. But, of course, that is not the only way to measure success. We know that if Jesus Christ were to be measured in terms of today's marketplace with today's values, that people would probably consider Him a failure. And of course we know He was the greatest success.
By the same token it's important for us to remember, and to remember very well, that success can be measured in terms of service rather than the acquisition of material things. And also, success can be measured in terms of satisfaction that one gets from the fulfillment of one's goals regardless of the fact that there may not be much money involved.
But if you do try and you do fail, at least you should fail successfully. By that I mean, you shouldn't brood about it, but as Mr. Armstrong has intimated in his book, The Seven Laws of Success, you should really use those failures purposefully. Those failures, rather than being stumbling blocks to your success should become stepping-stones to your success. I wonder how many of you realize that Thomas Edison failed some 499 times to produce a working light bulb before the last one did work? He showed a tremendous amount of resourcefulness, a tremendous amount of what Mr. Armstrong calls stick-to-it-iveness.
Someone asked Thomas Edison whether he considered himself a failure at or about the time, for example, that he failed for the 450th time. He said, "No, not at all. I wasn't a failure. All I was doing was eliminating those possibilities which weren't too practical." Which I think is a good way of using the failure or the aeries of failures as stepping-stones to success.
At any rate, faith can release you from this deep freeze that fear — fear of trying — can put you in. You shouldn't sit around daydreaming about what you could accomplish if you had the breaks or if you had luck.
How many of you play golf or have seen golf on TV on Sunday? I see that not a high percentage have. Gary Player is world famous. He's from South Africa, and he's a small man playing amongst giants physically. And yet he has managed to win every conceivable tournament wherever that type of tournament is played.
This year he had a remarkable run of exceptionally fine golf, winning the United States Masters, and then two other tournaments in a row, which today is a very difficult thing to accomplish. As he was about to win his third straight event, and each of them was accomplished in this come- from- behind fashion (coming far from the back of the field of players to the fore and winning), which of course makes the win even more spectacular, he was approached by the ubiquitous announcer. Sometimes they have announcers who know almost nothing about the game — whether it be the fight game or golf or tennis. Once in a while it does happen but not each and every time by any means. On this occasion, one of the announcers just really didn't know much about golf and didn't really know much about what it is to compete. He stuck the microphone under Gary Player's mouth as he was walking up the fairway. And in an effort to say the right thing, I guess, he congratulated him on what appeared to be now his third successive win, and said, "You know, you have to be rather lucky, don't you, Mr. Player, to win three in a row?" Gary smiled (and he has a very, very pleasant smile) and he said, "You know, you're right. You're absolutely right. You do have to be lucky to win. But you know," he said, "it's a funny thing. I found out that the more you practice, the luckier you seem to get."
As Mr. Armstrong's booklet, Seven Laws of Success tells you, perhaps the most important element is also the most neglected, and that's the element of faith in God. And of course, this element of faith is a gift. It's a gift from God. But literally, it opens closed doors. I accomplished things for Mr. Armstrong around the world that I would not have even tried if I didn't have faith that God wanted it done and that He had clothed me and Mr. Armstrong with a special cloak of protection, if you please, that would guarantee that things would turn out well and that our goal would be accomplished. Because truly, some of the things that we have done have been literally impossible — not only were they improbable, but they were impossible.
A few years ago I tried to see if I could transfer that feeling to someone else in order that he too would be able to succeed in accomplishing the impossible. South Africa is further away than any other inhabited part in the world. And I didn't have time to fly down there and personally make preparations. It took a lot of work and preparation of a type that I say literally was impossible.
What I did was to send a long memorandum to the man who ran the office in South Africa for the church. And without even indicating at all that any of what I had asked him to do was impossible, I told him to do it. Now he had never done anything like this before, and I had given him a list of things to accomplish that would have been impossible for anybody to accomplish considering the expeience that he didn't have, and considering the background and expertise that he didn't have. But you see, he didn't know any better. He didn't know that it couldn't be done. He didn't know that he didn't know. And he just assumed that because we said this is what we want and this is what we need that it could be done. And lo and behold, we arrived in South Africa for the first time and it had all been accomplished. And every trip that we had thereafter in South Africa was even better than the first one.
And one day I was talking to Mr. Fahey, who was our South African representative, and he said, "You know, I was absolutely overwhelmed when you sent me that first memorandum. I didn't know what to do. And no one knew what to do. No one knew how to begin. No one even knew how to get past the first door, no less accomplish the list of things that you had requested, such as meetings with the Prime Minister, meetings with the President, press interviews on television, press interviews on radio, press interviews with all of the press local, and distant, banquets in communities sponsored by other persons to hear Mr. Armstrong." And I said, "What did you do?" He said, "Well, I went into a closet and prayed."
Faith does break down opposition. Faith releases or generates energy and drive and power. And of course, we all know it can turn dreams also into reality. It literally is transforming and it certainly can lift us, each one of us, out of the ruts of despair and out of the ruts of discouragement. I'm sure you all know, as I do, that most of those ruts are self- made ruts. If you turn to God and you have faith, you'll be pulled out of it. Faith prepares us for abundant living, as well. It helps us to enjoy life rather than to face life with trepidation or fear, anxiety and apprehension.
And yet we know that we should pray for faith and we should pray for that faith each day, if necessary, to meet the needs of that particular day.
Now pilots often have to fly blind. Last time I went into the Los Angeles area, we had an instrument landing. And pilots have faith in their instruments. Otherwise they would surely, surely crash. They could become disoriented if they suddenly lost "faith." (And that faith has to be written with a small "f", certainly in lower case.) They must rely upon those instruments which have been built into the panel by the airplane manufacturer.
So, too, we must have faith in God and fly, in essence, by His instruments. I always remember that even the disciples asked and prayed for faith. You will recall how inadequate they felt when Christ told them that it was necessary for each of them to have unlimited forgiveness. And they had doubts about their own capacity or their own adequacy to even approach the reaches of divine compassion. And they turned to Him and they said, "Increase our faith."
So, too, we must turn to Him in daily prayer and in the attitude basically that "Lord I believe, but help my unbelief." This is the way toward a newer, and better life.