The other day, I dashed into the Home Depot to grab some paint for the desk I am redoing for Abigail’s room. Though I was only in the store for about fifteen minutes, while there, I managed to experience three separate instances where people were “emoting” at another individual quite openly – using language and behavior that was really sad to even overhear, and which I am certain deeply hurt the person who was being spoken to. It gave me pause for thought…
The first incident happened while I stood in line at the paint counter. The lady next to me was on the phone to (I’m assuming) her husband regarding a paint color in their home…and though I did not intend to eavesdrop it was sort of impossible not to since she stood only two feet from me, and given I have almost supersonic hearing, heheh. The wife was obviously frustrated with the guy on the other end of the phone and I caught the line where she told him to “Get off his lazy butt and go look at the color!”. Ouch; I’m guessing that husband didn’t enjoy being spoken to that way by his wife.
Then, while my creamy white paint was being mixed I stayed nearby and browsed paint swatches for our home. A little boy of about four to five came by and desperately wanted to take one of the several hundred color swatches with him, and reached for one. His father quickly intervened, roughly jerking his little arm and growling at him about how much trouble he was causing him, and that he’d better quit it, or else! How my heart sank for this little boy.
Not five minutes later as I checked out, I listened to the woman in the register line next to me who was almost hysterical, crying and yelling at the checker about some terrible mistake he had made. She went on and on and on. It was embarrassing to listen to, though I had had no part in whatever ill had been wrought. You can imagine how I felt for the guy behind the counter, no matter what his mistake.
I exited the store, deep in thought, thankful for the beautiful, spring-like weather, but saddened by yet more evidence that our world, though it certainly has its lovely points, is terribly poisoned by sin and the effects of that on all humanity. It’s not as though those three people in the Home Depot yesterday afternoon are unique. How many of us berate and tear down our spouses with our behavior instead of honoring and cherishing them with our words and actions ? How many of us parents discourage our children, treating them with impatience and anger instead of nurturing and loving them as we train them up? How many of us are quick to lose our temper and get frustrated with people who do wrong to us, whether intentional or otherwise? I myself am guilty of all this and much, much more.
When faced with our sin, particularly sin which hurts and tears down the people around us, we can rejoice that Jesus bore the punishment for all our nastiness and that through him we have forgiveness for our sins, and hope – hope that we don’t have to wallow in and remain trapped in our ugliness, as well as hope that God’s grace extends to heal relationships damaged by sin. While it is true that we will continue to struggle mightily with sin as long as we are upon this earth, we can fall upon God’s mercy to us in Christ’s death and resurrection, and trust his Holy Spirit to be at work in our hearts and lives, renewing us and helping us to put off sin, and instead become more like him.
The Bible uses the phrase “words of my mouth” so many times. I have not done a thorough study on this, but I am certain of this: just as God’s word and the things He speaks have great power, similarly, the speech we use has massive implications for both us and the people around us. How I pray that my speech may be more and more sanctified, helpful in building up those I love and come into contact with, instead of the other way around.
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.