Constantly through struggle. Usually after I’ve said something I shouldn’t.
That’s why I wouldn’t make a very good politician. But who knows. That’s what makes them attractive these days.
Saying what they shouldn’t and what immediately comes to their mind. Telling it like it is and all.
No matter the consequences. Or who gets hurt.
Yesterday I did that to my son. He was doing something I wanted him to stop but he wouldn’t stop when I asked him to. So I said the first thing that came to my mind, just telling him like it is, you know.
“Why do you have to constantly disobey, annoy me and get on my nerves?! Give me that toy and get out of my sight!”
I minced no words. He knew how I felt. Exactly what I thought.
He didn’t cry. He didn’t protest. He was crushed.
“Why are you yelling at me and being so mean, mommy?”
Me telling him exactly what I think and telling him like it is wasn’t refreshing. For him or for me. It was crushing. It was harmful. It was hurtful.
It’s what I teach him not to do. “Be kind. Think before you speak. Consider others before yourself. You can come second. Others can come first. Above all, love.”
And there I was standing over him with authority and power shouting down condemnation and unkindness to his beautiful face.
At his rebuke I broke. He shone a light into my darkness and I was exposed for who I am.
The bible talks a lot about how we speak, especially towards one another. With kindness. Gentleness. Humility. Truth. How I speak to my family and friends is one of my deepest struggles. My thoughts are always hanging on the rim of my mouth, jumping off at any moment of anger, fear, happiness, or loneliness, held captive by my emotions.
In all of his wisdom, Jesus tells us “I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak,” (Matt 12:36). Was this Jesus being a politically correct liberal baby telling his people to bridle their tongue and not just tell it like it is?
Our words are powerful. We spend a lot of time condemning others for their use of profanity but for idle words? Careless, thoughtless, self-righteous words? Words that don’t care about the hearer and how they will be affected? Not caring how our words impact others? Jesus says that we will all have to account for these words on the day of judgment; our careless, idle, thoughtless words that harm others are all subject to judgment because God knows just how devastating our words can be to others.
And surely I will be judged.
Culturally, we have come to elevate thoughtless words, gossip, dishonesty, harmful words, sharp words that attack. All to tell it like it is. To communicate exactly what we think. It’s described as being refreshing and authentic.
Until we are the ones being harmed, mocked, attacked, derided, slandered, gossiped about, and torn down.
Then we hear Jesus’ words and understand how truthful and wise they are. I look at the face of my son, crushed and hurt by my careless and sharp words meant to harm him, and I am ashamed at my harshness. But thankful for his rebuke. How else could I see my dark blind spots if not for him innocently and honestly shining a light on me? What a gift. To be told honestly and lovingly that I have hurt him. He was the one telling me like it is. With love and gentleness.
And for him I am thankful. Brought to grace and forgiveness.