Yes, you bet I did!
Last week we had our monthly food days at work where the different ladies and a couple of the men do a kind of pot luck the last two days of the week. I being the presumed “starving college student” am usually sent home with the leftovers. It’s a nice arrangement, I assure you, since even if I don’t want it, I can usually find a walking bottomless pit, i.e. my younger brother Jesse, or another person who will eat those things that I don’t care to touch. So, this last weekend I was sent home with four leftover doughnuts from my favorite doughnut place that I decided I would share with the fam.
So, Saturday afternoon there was ONE doughnut left intended for my younger brother UNTIL he teased me in such a way that I took the doughnut hostage. I mean, yes, I stepped right into it but that’s beside the point! I was randomly singing some song I’d made up while walking through the kitchen to put my clothes in the dryer when he asked where the song came from. I not thinking responded “Oh, from nowhere, just my brain.” He being a chip off the old block (my family’s known for extremely corny humor) had to say, “Ah, so you’re brain is nowhere, aye? hahahaha!” The silly goose would not quit laughing, so drying clothes forgotten, I took the doughnut hostage for a while. I being a forgiving sister did finally allow him his doughnut with the understanding that I was only giving it to him as a treat for finishing his school. Guess next time I better think through what I say to such a teasing younger brother…..
Lately, I seem to be suffering from the “Open mouth–Insert Foot” disease. Amazing how we don’t always think through all the different ways our words could be interpreted. In my case, it seems to have reached its peak after getting back from my time abroad though I still had a problem even before then. At a Bible study a while back, Brother Gail did a study on the tongue. He made the point of just how much damage the tongue can do not only to ourselves but to those around us. Just think of all the damage and hurt that can result from spreading one little “harmless” piece of gossip. Hollywood tabloids are an infamous example of this. They take pictures and write stories with only one intention in mind: to try to destroy the lives and reputations of famous celebrities. I’m not saying that I’m defending the actions of celebrities, but I do view it as a cautioning warning. We may not openly slander someone in that way, but it can be just as damaging when done behind someone’s back.
So, what does the Bible say about it? There are numerous passages that speak of the tongue, but one stood out to me the most since this is the passage that Brother Gail used in his study of the tongue. In James 3:5 it states:” Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” How easy one little member of the body can cause such chaos and hurt.
The last two summers I’ve had the wonderful privilege of being a counselor for 6-8 year olds for a week at a Bible study camp I love to attend in June. I try to always make a point of talking about this issue of the tongue with these precious little girls during one of our devotions. To start off, I have them play the game “telephone”. I whisper a sentence in one little girl’s ear and she is to whisper it once in the next girl’s ear and so on. When it reaches the last girl, she is to say out loud what she just heard from the girl before. Invariably, every single time it is something completely different from what the first sentence was. I then tell them that this is how gossip so often works. What might have started out as just a harmless piece of information given to another, can be turned into something completely different and possibly hurtful.
Well, I know you might be wondering how taking a doughnut hostage and being careful about the tongue ties in exactly. I guess the only way I can think of explaining it is that I was caught in a funny way saying something I wasn’t necessarily thinking about. How much worse could it have been if I had said something not so nice without thinking about it. The consequences would have been much worse than a teasing brother.
Let’s take each thought hostage and examine it before allowing it to proceed into a possible audible statement that we’ll regret later.