In Philip Gulley’s Harmony series, the Quaker preacher Sam utters a prayer I resonate with when he says…
“Lord, fill me Your truth and grace,” I prayed. “And help me not be a jerk about it.” – Life Goes On by Philip Gulley.
I admit, I’m a natural smart-aleck. It comes at the unexpected moments. Sometimes I think it’s something really clever. You know, a quip or a zinger or even a ‘gotcha’ rebuttal. But the moment it escapes my lips I realize it transcended clever and went straight on to irritant, and instead of a smile I can see the smoke coming from the recipient’s ears. The examples that come to mind … most of them involve people who are still living and I’d rather not remind them of my special moment in case they’ve forgotten. If you are reading this and you’re thinking, “I wondered if he realized this about himself!” then please forgive me! How likely am I to offend again? Unfortunately it probably won’t be long.
I can’t tell you how many Facebook posts I’ve deleted about 30 seconds after posting. Somehow they look different printed on the page. Then I think about how that will be received. Not well, I expect. Twitter is worse. You can’t really take it back (you can delete a tweet but it still can be seen by those who were reading at the time). But even worse…
Spoken words. You can’t take them back. Some of those words are hard to forgive, much less forget. Especially when they sting someone in your family, or a friend, or someone you wanted to be a friend with (but you cured that!).
James has a lot to say about words and the use of the tongue and he doesn’t cut any corners about it.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. – James 1:26
I liked preacher Sam in the Harmony series. I resonated with the experiences he had as the pastor of a congregation in a small town. I resonated with some things I didn’t care for in myself.
I know I’m not alone because I read some of the harsh things other people write. Often when one feels loftier than others, one feels freer to write things in a way that can be brutal.
Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; 20 for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behavior which He requires from us]. – James 1:19-20, AMP
“Lord, fill me Your truth and grace,” I prayed. “And help me not be a jerk about it.”
A mighty fine prayer…. you know … for those who need it.
Thanks for reading, JD