Sunday. The grocery store. A quick stop on the way home from church to pick up snacks for small group.
Small talk with the lady at the register. “How’s your day going so far?” And a split second before she answered, I knew. I knew what she was going to say.
Because I’ve said it before.
Maybe you have too.
“I’m going to be doing so much better when quitting time gets here!”
A throwaway comment. Not intended to carry a ton of meaning. Something you say when you’re trying to make filler because somebody asked you the same question you’ve heard a dozen times in the last hour.
Maybe you’ve never actually said that. Maybe in your comments you don’t mention quitting time. Maybe you refer to how exhausted you are (guilty), how busy you’ve been (double guilty), or how __________ isn’t really going your way (throw the book at him, your honor).
Our words matter. Sometimes they say more than we mean for them to say. In my tête-à-tête with the checkout lady, they told me that she was pretty much over helping me, her customer. She was just hanging on till her shift ended when she could get on to bigger and better things. Things that didn’t involve the chatty guy standing in front of her.
Ouch, not because it really hurt my feelings (I grabbed my groceries and skedaddled on to the car), but because it was a stark reminder of the stuff I say. Of the stuff I’d said that morning. To co-workers. To volunteers. To first time guests.
Our words matter. They speak louder than we think they will. They carry more weight than we intend for them too.
Choose ’em carefully.
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! (James 3:2-5, ESV)