Ever have one of those moments where you realize you are not quite as awesome a parent as you imagined?
I had one of those moments two nights ago. My daughter Cynthia was out of pajama tops, so she asked to wear one of my t-shirts. I said yes, and she grabbed a shirt with the above image on it.
I thought nothing of it, until she walked back out into the living room. Then I realized she was actually accusing herself of being a slow thinker simply by wearing the shirt.
Because of her autism, Cynthia usually is the last one to laugh at things. It take time for her to process humor, and many times she does not understand the joke at all.
And here I am – her loving father – owning clothing that mocks slow thinkers.
This is deeper than a silly t-shirt. It is time for some serious reassessment of priorities here. In this world of memes and mockumentaries, I find it very easy to jump into the fray with my quick wit. In this environment, the person with the fastest lips wins. Honestly, I win a lot under this scoring system. But maybe the scoring system is broke.
How Does God Score?
Two Scriptures confirm that the game of quick wits is not a game God plays.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
I want slow to speak to means something different in the original language, so I can continue to win my word game. I wish everything didn’t mean everything. But there is no escape. God scores by the intent of the heart. It is time to quit playing this game.
Playing God’s Game
Here is the decision I have made. I am going to stop playing the game of quick wits. I am going to start judging my words by the Ephesians 4:29 standard. Are my words good? Are my words helpful? Do they encourage the hearer?
I am going to be awful at this decision. I like being hilarious, but I do so often at the expense of another person, or even myself. But I have had enough #winning for a lifetime already.
I give you permission to call me out if you see me tearing someone (ANYONE) down with my words. Please be kind – this is a major shift for me.
I also invite you to join me.
Are you ready to stop #winning and start winning?
Chris, I don’t remember ever seeing you tear someone down with words. I think I am guilty of this and it is a constant temptation, especially because I love Twitter and I’m a huge fan of Jon Acuff, who is extremely witty. I can see where wittiness can be oppressive though, as the family I was raised in was constantly engaged in snappy repartee that made you feel stupid if you didn’t keep up. I will be thinking very hard about this today (esp since I have lots of time to think today–snowed under.)
Twitter and Jon Acuff are definitely part of my challenge. Let’s see, how can I be hilarious in 120 characters (have to leave room for my super-funny awesomeness to be retweeted, you know).
Maybe this is less a social media thing and more how I am in personal conversations. I know I need to become much more sensitive to how others perceive my words.
Yeah, and about that snow…
“God scores by the intent of the heart.” Incredible meat right there, Chris. I’ve been doing an awful lot of examining of my own heart lately. And you have super funny awesomeness? lol That made me laugh. I’ll be looking for that…
I am still chewing on that piece of meat myself. Might take a while to digest, but I know I will be a stronger picture of my Jesus as I learn to walk this out. Plus, I won’t have to be frustrated with myself for having t-shirts in my wardrobe that shame my daughter.
I will join you Chris. I want my words to always be kind. I literally, “hate” jokes that are only funny because it makes the other person look stupid.
My biggest struggle is when I ask a question and someone says, “I can’t believe you don’t know that.”
Here I go!
Thank you for joining me Pamela.
I have been guilty of being funny at others’ expense. But I want this to be the last day I do it. And by the way, that response always frustrates me too.
Maybe yesterday was your last day?
Here is another verse to add, 1 Thes 5:11 “So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.” Chris, this piece is stellar and of the utmost importance for us to take seriously
You’re right. Yesterday, not today.
I know I have read that verse before, but it’s never struck a chord in me as it does today. The connection between our words and our unity is powerful. Thanks for adding to the conversation
I know I’m not in your innermost circle, Chris, but I’ve never seen you tear anyone down. I’ve always found you to be helpful and kind. I agree with your sentiment, but in your quest to be slow to put others down, don’t forget to include yourself. I think you might be your own worst critic.
Thank you very much for your encouragement. I am definitely a harsh critic of Chris. I also know that I filter a LOT of what I think, and I have opportunity to grow in saying words that build up.
Well, we probably all have that opportunity. I know I do. But know that your public voice is a positive one. At least, it has been for me.
Enjoyed this Chris! Love the 2 Scriptures.
Thanks for stopping by. Super excited for your book launch next week, by the way!
troy mc laughlin
Enjoyed the post dude. Even in the small moments we can learn. Thanks for sharing your heart, your experience and the wisdom you gained from it.
Do you feel like you struggle with #winning? My guess is no – you seem to have a gentle spirit about you
troy mc laughlin
I can still be a knucklehead at times Chris so I’m still figuring out as I go.