If Something Goes Without Saying, Let It
By Ed Delph
January 3, 2022
Well, Happy New Year.
Have you heard about the question that everyone in the world missed? "So, in retrospect, in 2016, where do you see yourself in five years?” Enough said.
Vern McLellan gave us some excellent advice for going into the new year. "What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year." That’s so good.
As we venture into 2022, let’s consider ways to make our lives less dramatic or more productive by learning how to speak the right words at the right time. Let’s get the words we speak working for us, not against us.
I think you will like this story. It illustrates how words can make us or break us, even when we have done something that could come back to haunt us. Read on!
Jack wakes up with a massive hangover after attending his company's Grand Opening Party. Jack is not usually a drinker, but the drinks didn't taste like alcohol at all. He doesn't even remember how he got home from the party and who dropped him off. As bad as he feels, he wonders if he did something wrong.
Jack forces himself to open his eyes. The first thing he sees is a couple of aspirin next to a glass of water on the side table. Next to the aspirin is a red rose. Jack sits up and sees his clothing in front of him, all cleaned and pressed. He looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotlessly clean. So is the rest of the house.
He takes the aspirin and cringes when he sees a huge black eye staring back at him in the bathroom mirror. Then he notices a note hanging on the corner of the mirror written in red with little hearts and a lipstick kiss mark from his wife. The message reads, “Breakfast is on the stove, and I left early to get groceries to make you your favorite dinner tonight. I love you. Love, Jillian."
He stumbles to the kitchen, and sure enough, there is a hot breakfast with steaming hot coffee and the morning newspaper. His son appears at the table. Jack asks, "Son, what happened last night?" "Well, you came home after 3:00 A.M., drunk out of your mind. You fell over the coffee table and broke it, then you got sick in the hallway, and you got that black eye when you ran into the door.”
Confused, Jack asks his son, "So, why is everything in such perfect order and so clean? I have a rose, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me." His son replies, "Oh that! Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your pants off, you screamed, 'Leave me alone, lady, I'm married!'"
So, summing this story up: Broken coffee table … $400.00; hot breakfast … $7.20; two aspirin … $.38; saying the right thing at the right time, priceless.
I hope you weren’t offended by this story. There’s no excuse for Jack's behavior. But this incident also makes a point that we should consider. Saying the right thing at the right time is priceless. Saying the right thing at the right time is also wise.
Lady Dorothy Fanny Nevill once said, “The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” American advice columnist Ann Landers observed, “The trouble with talking too fast is you may say something you haven’t thought of yet.” I’ve been there, done that, and got the T-shirt.
The Bible, as usual, contains the best wisdom you can get about this subject: “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances” (Proverbs 25:11).
Consider these quotes, thoughts, and wisdom about speaking.
“The ability to speak several languages is an asset, but the ability to keep your mouth shut in any language is priceless.”
“A wise person once said nothing.”
In the Christian world, there is a great saying. “Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit; holding your tongue is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.”
Warren Buffet has a great thought about being influenced by words. "You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. True power is restraint. If words control you, that means everyone else can control you. So breathe and allow things to pass." It's scary when the weatherperson is the closest to telling the truth on the news now.
Do you want a better 2022, no matter what COVID does? In your language and your life, be firm but not rude, be kind but not weak, be humble but not timid, be proud but not arrogant.
In other words, if something goes without saying, let it.
Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com