Monday, October 29, 2012

people say dumb things.

People say dumb things.  It’s part of being a creature in this fallen world.  Fortunately, most creatures are incapable of speech, but for humans, our depravity sinks to a whole new level with the wide world of words.
We’ve all been there.  Those days where you wish your own words were on a string, so you could reel them back in just as quickly as you spewed them out.  And then there are those days, when you wish you could use the speech string to tie someone else’s mouth shut.  Thank God for His grace because it's true.  We’re compulsively prone to say things that are just plain dumb.

I was standing around after a gathering this past week, when I woman I hadn’t seen in a few years came up to me and gave me a hug as she squealed “welcome back!”  I smiled remembering that some people hadn’t seen me yet, since I’ve moved back here this past summer.  She leaned in close, “so did you go get married yet?”

I smile, with my eyes rolling in my head.  Really, lady?  “No, not yet…” I respond politely.  

With puppy dog eyes, she whispered, “oh honey..I am so sorry.”

I’m sorry I’m in this conversation.  Remember, Shelly, she’s just trying to be supportive.  I put on a happy face.

“Ya’s really okay.  For right now, this is where the Lord has me and I’m grateful.  As much as I'm excited for a relationship, he’s blessed me with a great place to be in ministry and I know that He is using this time for His purposes.  I’m grateful.”  It was an honest answer.

“Good for you, honey.  That’s what you have to do!  You just stay strong!  And ya know what??  It’ll happen.  You’ll find someone.  Or…maybe you won’t.”

And off she went as she caught the next person she needed to speak with.

Well intentioned.  We all are the majority of the time.  I think we have to be careful of that.  Those well intentioned words that we mean to build others up can have the ability to leave them down trodden.  Proverbs 15:28 says, “the heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking.”  Our words are a tricky ship to navigate.  Ones that can get easily swept away and never go back to being  unspoken.

It is wise to pray for our words and the words of others.

One of my favorite orders of worship is Celtic Morning Prayer.  Part of the liturgy says this:
This day, be in the heart of each to whom I speak.  In the mouth of each who speaks to me.

It’s good to pray for our words and that God would guard the hearts of those we're speaking to when we do say dumb things.  Those of us with great opportunity to speak have great opportunity to tear down or to build up.  Pray that God uses your words and mine.  Pray also for the words of others spoken to you.  That those words spoken to you would be uplifting and truth-filled.  That they would speak life and healing.  That they would always point to hope in Jesus.

May we be so soaked in Jesus that we say fewer dumb things because we can't help but speak truth.  May we be so soaked in the truth that we don’t help the enemy's work by repeating to ourselves the dumb things that others say to us.

After all, people mean well.  We just say dumb things.

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