“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” – Colossians 4:6
Oh my goodness did she really ask me that?
I was in my early 30’s, still emotionally sick from a divorce. I was working in the family business with my dad and just doing the best I could to get through the days.
One day, the mom of a childhood acquaintance came into our business. At first, it was so nice to see her and catch up with her children and their lives until the questions turned to me.
“What have you been doing with yourself?”, she asked. Followed by, “are you married?” That’s when I had to admit that I was recently divorced.
Then she asked the dreaded question. The question that had been a thorn in my side since my twenties: “how many children do you have?”
I answered, “none”, as usual.
Her response was unprecedented. “Why?”, she asked emphatically.
“Why don’t you have children?”, she continued. “Why haven’t you made your mom and dad grandparents?”
I stood there stunned. I stood there embarassed. I stood there hurt.
I simply replied, “I guess it wasn’t in God’s plan.” And I walked away.
I spent the rest of the day angry, bitter, sad, mad; a walking kaleidoscope of emotions. I pondered and replayed the conversation over and over in my head. How could this woman say such cruel things to me?
She did hurt me with her words, but did she even realize it? Many times we do not think before we speak. I’m guilty of it myself. Therefore, when I am on the receiving end of harsh statements, cruel judgments, and unnecessary questions, I need to remember to extend grace and forgiveness as soon as I can. The other person may be just fumbling for words, not even realizing how it’s coming out.
Sometimes when we are hurt and frustrated and go to God in prayer, our words may be fussy or have tones of doubting. But God knows our heart. He can see our heart. That’s the difference. We cannot see the other person’s heart. That lady probably didn’t have a malicious spirit at all when she spoke those words to me. She knew my parents and I guess she was just disappointed that they had not experienced the joy of granchildren as she had.
I must try to be consciously aware of the words I speak to others. I want to pray each day to speak truth. To speak kindness.To speak love. Yes, I’m going to mess up at times, but I pray that the Holy Sprit will show me immediately that I was wrong so I can try to correct it.