Many years ago, when I was lamenting something I had said to someone, Hubby said, “Well, the law of averages says that if someone talks as much as you do, they are bound to put their foot in their mouth once in a while.” We laughed at the time, but, in reality, I have spent my whole life thus far proving that theory.
I’m not kidding when I describe myself as “in my head, out my mouth.” This is mostly true when I am nervous, excited, angry or especially when I’m going for a laugh — but also when I’m happy, sad, euphoric, bummed, giggly, defensive, etc., in other words, regularly.
Once again, I woke up this morning thinking about something I said to someone yesterday in jest, that I look back on and wonder if I embarrassed them. It was a short, quick comment, so if I did, I don’t think I embarrassed them badly, but I regret it just the same.
I have asked God many, many times why I can’t learn to think before I speak, and I believe I have finally (I’m a slow learner) heard His answer. Here’s what I think He’s telling me:
First, when you choose to be the “class clown” (and I chose that as my persona when I was very young), you give up something in return. There is a price to be paid for you always wanting to make people laugh — both by you and others.
You give up “keeping your own counsel.” Many spontaneous thoughts that would best be kept to yourself so that they can be savored or re-thought or prayed about or measured for their worth (or their pain to another) or even rejected — are instead spilled out as soon as they’re thought for the sake of a laugh. What makes you popular, hardly ever makes you wise.
And, for the sake of your humor, your family and friends give up something too. At times, they definitely wish that their shortcomings, missteps or their own mis-spokes didn’t have to become fodder for your humor. And, it’s surely harder to confide in and trust someone with your deepest thoughts when you know that person can’t resist a good punchline, no matter what the subject.
Secondly, and most importantly, I believe God has worked all my life to make me less judgemental of others. And, how better to teach someone to be more forgiving of others, than to make them painfully aware of their own frequent needs to be forgiven? But its taken me this long to truly understand this connection. Like I said, I’m a sloooow learner.
So, starting today, this will be part of my morning prayer: “Please let me see the actions and words of others in the best light. Help me to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. And, let my humor be in all ways kind and uplifting.”
“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye?” Luke 6:41
Point taken, Lord. Now for the hard part — applying it!