Flat Frogs

One of my younger brothers, during his childhood days, loved frogs.  He’d catch them jumping around in the grass near the house and put them in a box outside his room and wanted to keep them there.  They became family pets.  Pets that my mother did not appreciate and would encourage him to take the frogs outside and let them go.  Let them be in their natural habitat enjoying life, eating the food around them, and taking care of the insect population. 

No, he would create a habitat inside his bedroom for the frogs to enjoy
and for him to enjoy their company.  At times, it got to be a little bit of a controversial issue between mother and son and she kept insisting he get them out of the house and he kept insisting on having them in his room.  One of his brothers and some of his buddies that would be around the house knew of the controversy that was raging.  One of them came up with a brilliant idea. 

He, like most of us, had seen frogs that had gotten out in the street and by a tragic encounter with a car had gone on to their eternal reward.  Now, after a few days baking in the sun and maybe a shower or two, there was nothing left but a flat frog out in the middle of the street.  They came up with the brilliant scheme to gather up some flat frogs and after the frog loving brother went to sleep, they would get the frogs out of the box and get the equal number of flat frogs back in the box.  They carried out their prank to play on this young kid.

One morning he woke up and something had happened to his frogs.  Now here was the kicker in the prank.  They had an explanation that they would give him that that’s what happens to frogs.  Sometimes when you keep them in captivity, they just decide that they will die and their oxygen leaves their body, all their fluids leave, and there’s nothing left but the shell – a flat frog.  That’s what they explained happened to all of his incarcerated frog friends.  Now to say the least, he was pretty perturbed, not at their explanation but the tragedy of all of his frog friends – poof – leaving their bodies and going on to wherever frogs go. 

Sadly, his mom and other family members got involved in the scheme and they affirmed, yes, that’s what happens to frogs when you keep them in the house.  They just decide to leave except for the shell of their skin.  There in the box was the flat frog to prove the theory.  As a result, he stopped catching frogs and keeping them in the house.  He was convinced that what they said happened to frogs actually happened to his frogs.  Though it was sad, he didn’t want it to happen again. Why do I share this heartbreaking experience with you?  There are some morals to the story that need to be fleshed out that may be helpful to moms and dads and brothers and sisters who may be telling quirky stuff to their siblings. 

For one thing, you need to be careful what you tell children.  The truth is that he went on back to school and on through grade school and I think he was somewhere in high school before the theory of the flat frog was ever contested by someone and they began to tell him – no, that’s not what happens to frogs.  Oh, yes it is.  He saw it happen years ago.  So here he is in a quandary of what to believe now with life.  For the people back in those days, even his own mama, telling him the truth about the frogs or where these people are now, his teenage buddies, telling him that he had been taken.  It was a traumatic thing for a young man.  He had to decide what is truth and what is not. 

In all seriousness, when Jesus said to us let your yes be yes and your no be no, He was probably giving us some wonderful advice that would be good for us and for the people we deal with.  Don’t let your yes be a, well, kind of yes, that has some catches in it that could be no, or your no likewise could be yes.  No, be straightforward and honest in what you tell and what you say. 

I know a prank is a good thing to enjoy and banter with each other, but on the serious side, it’s hard to deal with people who will tell you yes when they mean no and no when they mean yes or yes when they mean maybe and no when they mean probably not.  Integrity, honesty, straightforwardness, even in dealing with the frog population is probably best handled by not making up some weird theory about flat frogs. 

A second truth to consider is that we need to evaluate what we have been told or what you may read or hear or by chance hear inferred on Facebook or Twitter.  You can be misleading or you can be mislead.  It’s not just a simple matter of getting wrong information.  It can contribute to you being a perpetual critic or cynic resulting in a kind of bitterness in your life.  Maybe it’s up to me and to you to spend a little more time to think through or to investigate to see what truth is.  Truth that relates to the things of God.  Moral truth.  Right and upright is an important thing in every one of our lives.  We don’t need to be led down a path of misrepresentation that look like flat frogs in life. 

A final thought about flat frogs is that maybe somewhere along the way all of us need to grow up, be thoughtful, and even at moments while being enjoyable, avoid the kind of prank that can scar people’s lives, leave them on the side of the road disappointed, disillusioned, and maybe hurt by us.  For you see, what some people see as a simple, childish prank can lead to a life that is out of balance, while others will simply brush it aside and say, “You guys are weird for telling me about those frogs that got run over that they just decided to die one night and they gave up their oxygen and gave up their blood and water supply and they just flattened out in the box.” 

I know it sounds crazy, but when it comes to eternal things and God’s things and the truth of God’s Word, the straightforward nature of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ is true and right, unshakeable and unchangeable, and when seen in truth and in faith is life-changing in itself and we must guard the veracity of what God has given us for it is true and it is everlastingly true.  I know this may sound like a crazy discussion, but in reality of our world, there are a lot of people that are trying to give us information about flat frogs that we need to be thoughtful and looking to God for answers that will clearly keep us on the right path in our thinking, in our living, and in our relationships.  Beware of the flat frogs of life. 

The author can be contacted at directions@mbcb.org.

Jim Futral

Executive Director-Treasurer