When the Words Aren’t Really Funny

You know how we do it, don’t you?  We’re masters at it, we humans.  Donning our lighthearted hats, we saunter as we talk, words spilling carelessly, and framed carefully with humor when, honestly (deep down inside) we mean what we’re saying.  And the thing slips by as a joke, but we land our punches that way, and we chalk it up in the win column.

We savor such tiny victories, and we rarely see the trail of blood our pin pricks leave…

Regretfully, I must admit I’ve done this many times, most of them long ago, but some of them not so.

The colossal shame is that my son was fearful about something I spoke in this way, but they were not words to him, and it was once-upon-a-time, when I didn’t even think he was listening.  I’ve said it before (that the boy’s not stupid) and he did hear, and he certainly got the message.  The words lay waiting in his memory, seeds of angst for a child.  And one day this week his fear grew large enough to break his heart.

A misunderstanding, yes, and his distress was unfounded.  (I was only joking, remember?) As I soothed the hurt as best as I could, I remembered something incredibly painful, even more painful than seeing his suffering before me.  It was a scripture verse we’d been memorizing together, he and I, and we’d practiced it together that very day.  The scripture said:

26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

(James 1:26, NIV)

Oh, some things leave you speechless, don’t they?

At least (mute-for-the-moment) I was, but I mustered the courage to speak once more to my son, to hold his face between my hands, and to say the only words left to say:

  • I was wrong.
  • I’m sorry.
  • Will you forgive me?

Thankfully, he said yes.  But in the future, I’m going to check and re-check the reins to my tongue, and if necessary, pull them tighter.

holy experience

This entry was posted in Just Being Real, Walk With Him Wednesday and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to When the Words Aren’t Really Funny

  1. That’s very true. Lord, guard my lips.

  2. Cousin Tony says:

    Excellent as always.

    This is a problem with me, too. Sadly, when I realize I have said something harmful, it hurts me more than it hurts the other person. I think growth is a remedy; we tend to understand how to say and act better as we get older, but I don’t think we will ever be immune to such unfortunate circumstances. People take things differently, and we, ourselves, handle certain situations differently depending on the day.

    It’s important to be able to learn from these situations and, in addition, forgive ourselves for the human mistakes we make. It’s very hard to do sometimes. I’ve been at it for 42 years and still struggle with this.

    I love your posts, Cousin Stephanie. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you, Tony. After getting over the initial grief over this, I was (and am) thankful, because it was a lesson learned, and I found another thing to work on. I actually appreciate that happening these days because for so many years I didn’t even “see” things like this, and so stayed stuck in the mire. Now, I know that seeing the problem, for me, is the first step of changing and growing and healing.

      On another subject, you guys put it to us last night. Our man Cliff Lee did not have his best outing. You guys have a beautiful field out there on the water.

  3. Rene' says:

    Love, love, love this pic of you and Timothy! Oh, how I miss my time with Cam. You are blessed!

    Great post as always….so true! But OUCH! Hits a little too close to home.

  4. Proverbs 26:18 “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, “I was only joking!”

  5. Camille says:

    What a lovely post! Oh how my tongue can get me in *so*much*trouble*!! Oh that the LORD would help me to give HIM charge over my tongue…always.

    Thank you for sharing your heart…it was beautiful.


    • Thank you, Camille. One thing I’m working on currently is “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”. Sometimes it’s like the whack-a-mole arcade game, but I find my thoughts drive my words, and being someone who has always struggled with an untamed tongue, I appreciate anything that is a help. This thought has helped. Take the thought captive, lay it at Christ’s feet, and the words are never spoken. It was a hard lesson for me, but one I do appreciate.

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