A favorite baby photo of mine is the one of our first-born putting his foot in his mouth. (Now that I’ve mentioned that picture, I hope I can find it to use with this post of Shirl and You.) How long has it been since you put your foot in your mouth? I mean literally. Most people beyond the age of four to nine months will find this impossible to do. Somewhere in that time is when babies can do it. That’s when they notice their toes and since everything else goes in their mouths why not a toe or two? I did find a grown woman saying she can still do it and she gives credit to practicing yoga for staying that limber. I figure it must have something to do with being double jointed.
So much for literally putting your foot in your mouth. We have all done the other while embarrassing our selves by something we have said. It was a long time ago that I remember really putting my foot in my mouth. A bunch of us kids were swimming in a local lake when I said to my girlfriend, “That fellow over there smells like he just came out of a barn.” He had. That comment was meant only for her to hear, but we all know how well sound carries over water, and it did then, and he heard it! He was very hurt and I was embarrassed for saying something stupid that offended another person. Some times we speak quickly and without regard to what we are saying, but this was a well thought out comment, that went much farther than I thought it would. I’ve done the other though, too.
I remember casually saying I didn’t like something, then realized that the person I was talking to liked that very thing. She was gracious enough not to say anything and the subject was dropped. But, not without embarrassment on my side. Sometimes we are just too eager to put our two cents in, without regard for the people around us. We’ve all grown up being told to think before you speak. the problem is I just didn’t remember this until after I had spoken. I am generally a quiet person, if you don’t believe that, ask my husband. It’s a known fact that some women talk incessantly. In fact, one person said that mornings, as soon as her feet touch the floor, if no one is around to talk to, she talks to herself.
Most everyone has put their foot in their mouth at one time or another. Often this is done without malice, but sometimes people do disregard other people’s feelings. Benjamin Franklin must have experienced the embarrassment of not thinking before he spoke because he said, “Better slip with the foot, than the tongue.” When we physically fall we can laugh about it, get up, and hope the bruises heal, and we haven’t hurt anyone else’s feelings. What about a man like Thomas Edison who was brilliant? His advice was to talk less and listen more. He said, “You’ll have many opportunities in life to keep your mouth shut: You could take advantage of every one of them.”
Needless to say, the Bible offers the best advice on the subject. James 1:19 says “Know this my beloved brothers, let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. A solution couldn’t be made clearer as we read Proverb 29:20: “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
So there are wise steps to take as given to us in God’s Word. If followed we won’t stick our foot in our mouths, eat crow, or swallow our pride. And something else to put into practice is to remember that if you’re not willing to say something to a person’s face, then don’t say it to someone else about them. This put into practice would have eliminated the embarrassment at the lake for both me and the other person.
This week’s Shirl And You’s subject is one you all have thoughts on. I’d love to have you share them with me.
P.S. I give up I can’t find that photo I was hoping to show you. Sorry!