Did you ever want to duct tape your mouth shut within a micro millisecond of your ears hearing the syllables you spewed out?
Yup. Guilty. Soooo guilty.
Yesterday I wasn’t having the best of days, but I opted to try and make the best of the late afternoon/early evening. I grabbed my two new furry stepchildren (okay, step doggies) and ventured out with them solo for the first time to a local dog park. It was beautiful weather, and I thought it would be just what we all needed.
I parked and they excitedly bounded out of the car (after I had grabbed their leashes with superhero speed), and off we went for a bit of bonding in doggie heaven. There were two other doggies in the small dog area, and everyone seemed to be doing well as I unleashed them to socialize. All good…
two (cough, cough) older gentlemen walked right by the big dog fenced-in area (not three feet away) and brought in their dogs to our area. The one dog was quite old (as was his owner), and then there was… the OTHER dog. The alpha dog. The dog that immediately ran after the smaller dogs like they were appetizers. My two pups jumped up on the bench with me, and Scooter (my alpha pup) began growling and barking with all the bravado (masking fear) that his little body could muster. I’m sitting there, watching all this, and none of the other small doggie owners are saying anything.
I spoke up, feeling quite the Joan of Arc champion of all dogs small, telling this guy that this was the small dog area and the large dog area was right other there (and pointed with raised eyebrows for dramatic effect). The alpha dog alpha owner smarmily proceeds to tell me that his dog is right in the middle, and… yes… and that “you can complain all you want.” He then informs me that they don’t like aggressive dogs in the park… as Scooter continues to growl, which seems like a great thing for me to begin doing as well. I add a bit of a grrrr as I spit out, “Well, he wasn’t aggressive until your big dog came in here and scared him!” He laughs, this big bully man with his big bully dog, and then arrogantly says, “Oh, you probably don’t even have a permit to be here.” Ugh… okay, I need a permit to be in here? Seriously? My brain feels like it’s about to explode and about a million “comebacks” fly through until I land on this one and it comes out of my mouth dripping with venom, “Oh, why don’t you just shut up?” Now there’s a snappy, intelligent response. He just laughs again, and after a few minutes decides to leave.
Needless to say, I left shortly thereafter, chalking up this foray into the world of dog park politics as an epic fail. But more importantly, I am most disturbed about my own attitude and behavior. Okay, this guy was a real dork, but I didn’t have to be. I just can’t imagine Jesus telling His enemies to shut up. Hmmm… godly woman attitude and “quiet and gentle spirit”… epic fail.
It has bothered me ever since, even though I have asked the Lord to forgive my attitude and dishonoring and disrespectful words. This little momentary snippet of my life has revealed some “ugly” that I don’t want to have in me… a chink in my character. It revealed the nasty nature that I don’t like to admit having, with an aroma not of sweet perfume, but more of something that I might have trekked through on my way out of the dog park. As I was driving into work today, two separate sermons on the radio addressed the use of words (uh-huh, yes indeed, no co-winky-dink here, God was sending a lesson to me LOUD AND CLEAR – with loving grace, but nonetheless, a lesson that pierced my heart, which I need to hear and put into practice).
The first was from Truth for Life’s Alistair Begg in his message “The Use and Abuse of Words”: http://www.truthforlife.org/broadcasts/2014/08/08/the-use-and-abuse-of-words-part-2-of-2/
The second from Adrienne Rogers is entitled “Tune In, Tone Down, and Sweeten Up” and can be found at http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/love-worth-finding/custom-player.
Both pastors spoke from James chapter 3. And it doesn’t surprise me that both men quoted the same poem below (author unknown):
If all that we say in a single day,
With never a word left out,
Were painted each night in clear black and white,
It would prove queer reading, no doubt.
And then just suppose 'ere our eyes would close,
We must read the whole record through,
Then wouldn't we sigh, and wouldn't we try,
A good deal less talking to do.
And I more than half think that many a kink
Would be smoother in life's tangled thread,
If half that we say in a single day
Were forever left unsaid.
I think this weekend I will spend time memorizing the following verses, in the hopes and prayers that next time I find myself in a similar situation, my words, however necessary, however, justified, will be filled with grace and will honor my Savior.
James 3:10 “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessingand cursing. My brethren, these thingsought not so to be.”
and my prayer will be that of King David: