I was glad I was not there. I would have disgraced myself with sniggers, snorts and perhaps even full-blown laughter.
It was an important meeting making important decisions. The meeting seemed to be moving towards agreement when a lady who might be described as ‘traditionally built’ (see No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) stood up.
“I have a ‘but’,” she announced, “and it’s a very big ‘but’!”
A friend of mine who was there at the meeting told me that there were many people who were trying hard not to show any reaction as they mentally added a ‘t’ to ‘but’ while others stuffed fists in their mouths or had thinly disguised coughing fits.
I was angry that I was there. I almost disgraced myself with an outburst, but my wise and loving wife restrained me with a gentle hand on my arm and prevented me from making a scene.
At the time I was working as a lawyer. I had many different clients and had recently had to obtain an injunction to keep a man away from his wife after he had beaten her to a pulp.
The (allegedly) qualified Christian speaker stood up at the seminar on marriage at the Christian Conference that is held in the Spring and announced, “It is always right for a husband and wife to remain together.”
In my mind I could see my client’s battered face and wanted to introduce her to this speaker and see if she still believed that statement.
The words we use are incredible. They have the potential to amuse (intentionally or otherwise), to convey wisdom, to encourage, to correct, to support and so much more. And they have the power to be destructive, to tear down, to imprison, to denigrate, to humiliate.
Most of the time we lob out words without giving them much thought. We scatter them liberally as we travel throughout the day. We leave them behind us like the wake behind a speedboat and don’t consider the impact on those who are bobbing around behind us. Some may enjoy the ride, others may be swamped.
In James 3 we read of how potentially dangerous the tongue is and James suggests that it needs taming and restraining, it as if it were a wild horse. He continues:
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Jesus spoke of how the mouth reveals what our heart is like.
I don’t think they were just writing and talking about swearing: if we say things thoughtlessly, what might that say about what we are like?
In writing this bloggerel I am acutely aware that once I click on ‘publish’ these words are out there for anyone to find, read and react to. I hope and pray that they are a blessing and an encouragement to you. If they are the opposite, please let me know so I can respond and amend what needs amending.
How will people respond to your words today?
Be blessed, be a blessing.