It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.
1 Peter 2:15
The trouble with talking too fast is you may say something you haven’t thought of yet.
It is painful when an already challenging circumstance is made even more difficult by the careless words of another. Rude comments often leave us feeling kicked when we’re already down. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words can break our spirit.
A couple of summers ago, my husband was in the middle of a 6-month deployment and I ran out of diapers. Not a big deal. I decided to stop by Walmart on my way home from church to pick up more. My oldest three children stayed at church for the second service to attend youth group, so I took the younger five and headed off to the store.
While I was in the diaper aisle trying to find the right size, an incredulous older man stared at me with my two children standing beside me and three more riding in the cart. He scoffed and said, “You should get a TV and watch it more often.”
On what planet does a guy think that is an okay thing to say to a woman he’s never met—or say to anyone, for that matter? I couldn’t even look at him.
I was weighed down and tired from the demands of being a single parent to 8 awesome children and the worry of wondering if their father would even come home safely. I was already a little on the edge and I knew that if I responded to him at all I was likely to do something I would regret later.
I was so thankful my older children (who might have been able to discern the gist of his remark) were not with me. That would have added to my embarrassment. At least I only had my younger kids in tow. They were like, “Yeah! More TV!”
My husband was half a world away serving our country and fighting to defend this man’s freedom. This guy gets to enjoy his freedom of speech because courageous men and women like my husband preserve it for him. And what does he choose to do with this valuable freedom? He uses it to publicly cut down and humiliate the wife of the one who is protecting him. I was so hurt and angry I didn’t even know how to respond.
This isn’t the only time someone has cut me down with sharp words that were not well-planned. I am sure you have encountered your fair share as well.
I have had plenty of opportunities to contemplate ways to respond to people who make unhelpful, hurtful, or downright rude comments. I want to share some of what I’ve learned over the years.
The power of the tongue is life and death— those who love to talk will eat what it produces.
Proverbs 18:1, ISV
P.S. ~ No teens were harmed in the making of photos for this blog post. He volunteered. My boys love duct tape!
Elizabeth is a military spouse, veteran, and mother of eight. Above and beyond caring for her family, her mission is to offer words that sustain the weary and equip people to live a life of faith filled with purpose.
Learn more at elizmeyers.com.