I just want to sit back and have a little chit chat on this lovely Sunday afternoon. I usually don't get down and too serious in my posting because, let's face it, life is too dang short to get hung up on the dark side (Yes, I did use a Star Wars analogy. Don't freak out).
I teach the 9 and 10 year olds at church. It is a good age to be involved in their lives. They are a great group of kids and even on bad days, they are still amazing. Today's lesson was all about controlling what you say. Control your tongue and you have control over all things pertaining to your body (James 3 for direct wording).
I find this concept fascinating. I am not always good about keeping my tongue under control. I know I have inadvertently hurt someone's feelings or sworn. Cussing seems to be that one thing that will plague me until the day I die. I could blame it on my backwoods farm upbringing, but guess what? No excuses. I know better. I don't have a cow using my foot as a step stool, nor do I have chickens chasing me around the yard pecking at my legs. Like I said, no excuses.
My parents taught me well. I remember the day as if it were yesterday the one time in my life I heard my mother swear. In retrospect, she had every right to. At the time, I was floored. I had a boyfriend at the tender young age of 16. We were serious, or as serious as a girl and boy can be at that age. His mother was adamantly against the pairing and came to my house to tell me so. My mother, who is the nicest lady you'll ever meet, treated this irate woman with the utmost respect and kindness despite the fact that she was ranting about my scant likelihood of entering heaven and branding me a brazen whore. I do believe the wording was on the lines of "child of the devil, come to tear her son away from God" and the like. It was fairly unpleasant.
Regardless, she said her piece and my mom let her drive away without comment. I ran. My place of refuge was down with my horse and that is where my mother found me. She comforted me, dried my tears and called that woman a few choice words. Now, never in my life had I ever heard my mother swear. We weren't allowed to swear or say gosh, or even shut up for that matter. My mother, to this day, stands as a paragon of strict upright living and her example is unparalleled, but for one brief moment in the midst of my teenage burdens, she cussed like a sailor on dry land. More than the words of comfort, her utter verbal breakdown made me feel infinitely better. I knew right then, she loved me more than her own values. In that moment, the respect for my mother deepened, my love for her increased and I have not heard another cuss word come out of her mouth since.
The words we say stick with us like branded tattoos on our character. While they might not be visible on our skin, they shape who we are. What will you say today?