To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.
~William Henry Channing

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Poor Evelyn

The woman's voice was hard and angry.

"Let me talk to Evelyn."

I'm sorry there's no one here by that name.

"Look, I know she's there. Let me talk to her now."

I'm really sorry you must have the wrong num--

"I don't have the wrong number. Put her on the phone now!"

After a bit more of this kind of thing I was finally able to convince the angry woman on the other end of the line that she had indeed called the wrong number. I felt bad for poor Evelyn...I don't know what she did but boy, was she in trouble!

But so was I. Because even though I had not gotten rude with tone had definitely gotten sharp. Which doesn't really sound like a big deal is.
Because lately, I'm noticing how ungracious I am in my speech.
Wait, let me back up. What I've been noticing for a few months is the lack of gracious speech coming from the mouths of those who claim Christ as King. I was seeing it and hearing it and not liking it one bit.
Because I also began to notice it in my own life. My tone can be short or hard. I'm quick to speak and slow to hear. Our society has put a premium on sarcasm and quick edgy comebacks and it's easy to fall into that ditch.
See, here's the thing. Usually, the thing you see and dislike in someone else can often times be your very own besetting sin. So if a common complaint that comes up repeatedly with you against others is something like, "They are so rude and arrogant" the odds are that rudeness and arrogance are living within your own heart. Or people are always 'know it alls' or impatient, ungrateful or always seeking attention, etc. then these are probably traits you are blind to in yourself.
How do we deal with this? With humble hearts, seeking forgiveness and asking God to continue to reveal our sin to us.
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
Clearly there is a time when we address the sin of others...remember, a true friend will be an enemy to your sin. But that doesn't happen until you are deliberately confessing and dealing with your own sin.
So here I am...confessing my own lack of gracious speech. And this is what I want, what I'm praying and asking God for...that my words will always be gracious...that my words will show that I am a friend of the prayer each day that He will keep watch over my mouth...that I will be prudent and lessen the opportunity for sin...that my words soothe and calm any situation I may find myself in (even angry people who dial wrong numbers!) and that I will always remember the power of words.

I do hope things worked out for poor Evelyn.