Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Don't Say It

We were on our way home from Mom's annual vacation. Mom was in a wheelchair being pushed by a Sky Cap, Norman was hauling the luggage cart, and I was wheeling my tote. Our flight got in later than scheduled, and the airlines lost a piece of luggage as a bonus. Walking the long corridors felt like we were slogging through mud, and as they say down south, we were "TARRED" (tired). The parking ramp signs overhead gave us two options: Green Ramp or Gold Ramp. 

"Which ramp are you in?" asked the Sky Cap.

Huge pause. Huge scary pause.

Norman looked at the signs and said, "Ah, I think it's green. I'm not sure..." 

My travel-worn mind screamed: "Noooooo! Not a lost car in the ramp! Noooooo!" At least these words were still locked inside my head and hadn't yet escaped the lipgates! I was ready to pounce on his statement with a blazing question: "You don't know where you parked the car?" I opened my mouth, but before I could begin the interrogation, my mind barked an order:

"Don't say it," the prudent side of my head said sharply. And then I closed my mouth.

Have you ever told yourself that? There are dozens of times when we say things too quickly, and then we get into trouble and have a massive clean-up all because we wouldn't bridle our tongues.

Learning how to tell ourselves, "Don't say it!" is like learning how ice skate: You'll fall now and then, but after some practice, you'll get really good at it. I should know. I tell myself to zip the lips all the time. We may feel the sting of conviction in our souls for having harsh thoughts, but at least we won't suffer the wrath of an angry person if we don't allow those thoughts to escape our lips.

I'm not suggesting that we can't ever voice a thought, but we need to be careful that we aren't speaking out of frustration. We need to be especially on guard when we're tired, as we can become easily irritated by the smallest infraction, causing an unnecessary breach in a relationship. Let's face it: Words can hurt! "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health." (Proverbs 12:18) Our words could poke a hole in someone's heart, and while they may heal, the wound leaves a scar in the heart and mind.

Think about it: What has someone ever said to you that left a scar? Can you think of anything, or maybe even several things? I can, too.

So then, let's not do to others that which we hate to have done to us! "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12) If we don't want to be constantly reminded of our goofs and gaffes, let's not appoint ourselves the Inspector General with a tongue ready to deliver our sharp and painful observations. Humans make mistakes. That includes us, and last time I checked, most of us don't need someone else to point out obvious blunders.

Tempted to burn someone with your fiery tongue? Deny yourself.

Don't say it.

"For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body." (James 3:2)

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