When to Keep Your Mouth Shut

close up photo of woman s face
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There are times throughout our lives when we are faced with situations that make us angry, upset or annoyed with other people. We might then begin to spread yell, argue, gossip, spread rumors, tear down the individuals that we may disagree with…the list can go on and on. The sad reality is, that many times, we are the ones that look foolish and end up “eating our words.”

Today’s post is a great reminder of what we should do when these circumstances come our way.  The following is a list is a compilation of helpful advice…I have included a Scripture verse (that you can click on) with each point.

DON’T OPEN YOUR MOUTH:

  1. In the heat of anger – Proverbs 14:17
  2. When you don’t have all the facts – Proverbs 18:13
  3. When you haven’t verified the story – Deuteronomy 17:6
  4. If your words will offend a weaker brother – 1 Corinthians 8:11
  5. If your words will be a poor reflection of the Lord or your friends and family – 1 Peter 2:21-23
  6. When you are tempted to joke about sin – Proverbs 14:9
  7. When you would be ashamed of your words later – Proverbs 8:5
  8. When you’re tempted to make light of Holy things – Ecclesiastes 5:2
  9. If your words convey a wrong impression – Proverbs 17:27
  10. If the issue is none of your business – Proverbs 14:10
  11. When you are tempted to tell an outright lie – Proverbs 4:24
  12. If your words will damage someone’s reputation – Proverbs 16:27
  13. If your words will destroy a friendship – Proverbs 25:28
  14. When you are feeling critical – James 3:9
  15. If you cannot speak without yelling – Proverbs 25:28
  16. When it is time to listen – Proverbs 13:1
  17. If you have to eat your words later – Proverbs 18:21
  18. When you are tempted to flatter a wicked person – Proverbs 24:24
  19. If you have already said it more than one time (then it becomes nagging) – Proverbs 19:13
  20. When you are supposed to be working instead – Proverbs 14:23

 

“Whosoever keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from trouble.”

Until Death Do Us Apart

man and woman kissing
Photo by Emma Bauso on Pexels.com

“Until death do us part.” This sentence is usually included when two people make their vows to each other on their wedding day. It symbolizes a sense of an unconditional kind of commitment, that, regardless of what may happen during the duration of the marriage, will remain strong and long-lasting. Unfortunately, many people fall short of this type of commitment for a variety of reasons…some realize their mistake and reconcile with their spouse while others may discover too late, that any kind of resolve is beyond restoration.

Today’s story is written by a man who made a bad decision with his marriage. He became involved with a co-worker, lost interest in his wife, and ended up learning a valuable lesson. It is my hope that his account of what happened to him and his relationship with his marriage will help encourage and inspire you to stay strong in the relationships of the people you love.

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A year or so ago, I came home one night and found my wife serving dinner. Walking up to her, I held her hand and said, “I’ve got something to tell you.” She sat down and ate quietly. Again, as it had been in the past months, I saw the hurt in her eyes. I tried to open my mouth and speak but couldn’t find the words. After an awkward moment of silence, I finally let her know what I was thinking. “I want a divorce.” I said calmly. She didn’t seem to be upset by my words, instead she asked me softly, “why?” I avoided her question. This made her angry. She began to yell and scream, threw away her utensils and shouted as I stood there and listened.

That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She just sat there quietly weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage, but I just couldn’t give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to my co-worker, Jane. I just didn’t love her anymore, I pitied her!
The next day, with a deep sense of guilt and sadness, I drafted a divorce agreement. In it, I stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. My wife, the woman who had spent ten years of her life with me and had become the mother of our child, was a stranger. I felt sorry for the time she wasted with me, the resources and energy she had spent with me, but I could not take back what I had said to her. The most important thing was that I loved Jane and loved her dearly.
Later that day, I came back home very late from work and found her writing something at the table. I decided not to have any dinner, went straight to bed and quickly fell asleep. I had spent a very eventful day with Jane and was dead tired. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.
Early the next morning, she presented her divorce conditions to me. She didn’t want anything from me but requested that I give her a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month, we both try to live as normal a life as possible. Her reason was simple, our son had his exams later in the month and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

I agreed to her terms.  But then she had something more…she asked me to recall how I had carried her into our bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going a little crazy but just to make our last days together bearable, I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was silly and absurd. “No matter what tricks or shenanigans she tries, she has to face the fact that the divorce will happen”, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn’t had any physical contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So, when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Behind us, our son applauded and yelled, “daddy is holding mommy in his arms!” His words
brought me a sense of pain and embarrassment. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; “don’t tell our son about the divorce.” I nodded and feeling somewhat upset, I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to go to work and I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more relaxed. As she leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked this closely at this woman for a long time. I realized she was not young anymore. There were fine wrinkles on her face and her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me and gave our family a son.

On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again, and I decided that I wouldn’t tell Jane about it.  As the month slipped by, I discovered that it became easier to carry her. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She had tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed and said, “all my dresses have gotten bigger.” I suddenly realized how much thinner she had become…which was the reason why I could carry her more easily. Suddenly it hit me like a punch in the gut, she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart and never once complained about it. Subconsciously, I reached out and touched her head and caressed her face.

At that moment. our son came into the room and said, “Dad, it’s time to carry mom out.” To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out of the house every day, had become an essential part of his life.

My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid that I might change my mind at this last-minute. Then, lifting her in my arms, I walked from the bedroom, through the sitting room, and to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally, I held her body tight…just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms, I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and told her that I hadn’t noticed that our marriage had lost so much intimacy and the love that we once shared.

Then it happened.

I drove to my office and jumped out of my car without locking the door. I was afraid that if I waited too long, I would change my mind. I walked upstairs and Jane opened the door. I said to her, “I am sorry, Jane, but I do not want the divorce anymore.” She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead and asked, “do you have a fever?” I moved her hand off my head. “I’m sorry, Jane,” I said, “I made a decision…I am not going to divorce my wife. You see, my marriage had become boring and shallow because we didn’t value the essential things of our lives, it wasn’t because we didn’t love each other anymore. We had just lost sight of the important things that hold a marriage together. Since I began to carry my wife this past month or so, I realized that I had started our marriage carrying my wife into my house on our wedding day and I am supposed to hold and take care of her until death do us apart…and that’s what I am going to do”

Jane was stunned then, suddenly, she seemed to wake up. She gave me a hard slap across my face, slammed the door, walked away, and burst into tears.

I walked downstairs and drove away. I soon came upon a floral shop and had a great idea. I decided to order a bouquet of flowers for my wife! The salesgirl smiled then asked me to write on the little card that came with the bouquet.  I smiled and wrote, “I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us part”.

Later that day, I finally arrived home with the flowers in my hands, a smile on my face and a song in my heart. I ran up the stairs, burst through the door and called out my wife’s name. There was no answer. Puzzled, I searched each room, but she was nowhere to be found.  Finally, I went to our bedroom and found, to my great surprise…my wife in the bed. But she wasn’t moving or breathing…she was dead.

Unbeknownst to me, my wife had been fighting cancer for months and I was too busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon, and she wanted to protect and save me from whatever negative reactions and actions that may have come from our son if the divorce had taken place. At least, in the eyes of our son, I was a loving and caring husband.

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Folks, there is a moral to learn from this story: The small details of our lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansions, the cars, properties, or the riches that we may have. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. It’s the little, unseen things that are the most important…love, faithfulness, commitment, and selflessness, things that money cannot buy, that makes a relationship, like marriage, endure the test of time. So, find the time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy, love, and trust. For it is the unseen things in a marriage that no only have the most value…they are the most important things.

Here’s to successful relationships, thriving friendships, and happy marriages!

The Mother with One Eye

eye
Photo Credit: Fran Ullola via Flickr

Judging other people can be a struggle for almost anyone on a daily basis. People can find themselves judging others in a variety of ways. If could be something as small as how someone looks or how they act. We could be judging them based on what their government affiliation might be or their religious beliefs. The list can go on and on.

An example of how we can sometimes judge is this short story from psychologist and meditation teacher, Tara Brach who frequently tells this story: Imagine you are walking through the woods and you see a small dog. It looks cute and friendly. You approach and move to pet the dog. Suddenly it snarls and tries to bite you. The dog no longer seems cute and you feel fear and possibly anger. Then, as the wind blows, the leaves on the ground are carried away and you see the dog has one of its legs caught in a trap. Now, you feel compassion for the dog. You know it became aggressive because it is in pain and is suffering.

Your judgement changed once you understood the situation.

————————

I came across this story that simply broke my heart and reminded me of an important lesson: never judge a person until you know exactly of what made them the way they are…

My mom only had one eye. I hated her… She was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students and teachers to support the family.

There was this one day during elementary school where my mom came to say hello to me. I was so embarrassed.

How could she do this to me? I ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school one of my classmates said, “EEEE, your mom only has one eye!”

I wanted to bury myself. I also wanted my mom to just disappear. I confronted her that day and said, “If you’re only gonna make me a laughing stock, why don’t you just die?”

My mom did not respond… I didn’t even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because I was full of anger. I was oblivious to her feelings.

I wanted out of that house, and have nothing to do with her. So I studied real hard, got a chance to go abroad to study.

Then, I got married. I bought a house of my own. I had kids of my own. I was happy with my life, my kids and the comforts. Then one day, my Mother came to visit me. She hadn’t seen me in years and she didn’t even meet her grandchildren.

When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited. I screamed at her, “How dare you come to my house and scare my children! GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!!”

And to this, my mother quietly answered, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address.” – and she disappeared out of sight.

One day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house. So I lied to my wife that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went to the old shack just out of curiosity.

My neighbors said that she died. I did not shed a single tear. They handed me a letter that she had wanted me to have.

“My dearest son,

I think of you all the time. I’m sorry that I came to your house and scared your children.

I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I’m sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up.

You see……..when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn’t stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So I gave you mine.

I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye.

With all my love to you,

Your Mother.”

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“If you judge people….you have no time to live them” ~ Mother Teresa

A Coach Is Always Right…Right?

lights night crowd stadium
Photo by Shawn Reza on Pexels.com

A few days ago, a good friend of mine, Bill, sent me this cute little story, written by John Killinger, that I thought would be something fun to share. Even though it is a funny story, it does demonstrate the unfortunate instances when certain individuals take the fun out of a game because of anger and frustration. Hopefully, it will serve as a motivation to people how NOT to act towards others when things do not work out the way that they desire.

A little while ago, the manager of a minor league baseball team got so frustrated with his center fielder’s performance that he jerked him out of the game and decided to play the position himself. He was determined to show his player how simple it really was to play this position. The first hard-hit ball that came to the manager took a bad hop and smashed into his mouth. A short time later, he had his second chance. The next play was a high fly ball that he lost in the sun—until it smacked him in the forehead. Then, for his last opportunity, a ball that came his way was a hard line-drive that flew between his hands and popped him right in the eye.

Furious, he ran off the field to the dugout, grabbed the center fielder by the shirt and shouted, “You’ve got center field so messed up, even I can’t play it!”

———————-

I hope you enjoyed this story. If you have any kind of motivational, inspirational, or heartwarming short stories, please don’t hesitate to send them to me and I will re-post them and credit you!

LIVE
LAUGH
LOVE

 

 

“Keep Yourself at 17 Inches”

Nations_Park_Home_plate
Photo Credit: Gerald Klein (Nations Park Home Plate) via Wikimedia Commons

I recently came across a fantastic story written by Coach Sperry, that a couple of friends of mine sent to me via Face Book. I thought that it was something that should certainly be shared with everyone and worth the read…especially parents and coaches.

In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention.

While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who the heck is John Scolinos, I wondered. Well, in 1996 Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. No matter, I was just happy to be there.

He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate. Pointed side down.

Seriously, I wondered, who in the hell is this guy?

After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.

Then, finally …

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility.

“No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.

“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”

Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?”came a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.

“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.

“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls.

“And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over these seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Bobby. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of throwing the ball over it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”

Pause.

“Coaches …”

Pause.

” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? What do we do if he violates curfew? What if he uses drugs? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate?

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold.

Then he turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”

Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.

“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful….to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”

“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”

With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.

“… dark days ahead.”

Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.

His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.

So…You Think You Know People?

Photo Credit: Darren Johnson via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Darren Johnson via CC Flickr

Sometimes in life…you THINK you know what other are people are like…you think that you understand how other people feel and the struggles that they deal with. But do you REALLY know them?

Consider this:

The “gay boy” you punched in the hall today…committed suicide a few minutes ago. Remember that girl that you called a “slut” today in class? She’s a virgin. How about that boy that you called lame? He has to work every night to support his family. What about the girl that you pushed down yesterday because she was too slow and annoying? She’s being abused at home. Remember that girl that you called fat? She is slowly killing herself by starving herself. How about that old man that you made fun of because of the ugly scars that he has on his face? He fought for our country. What about the boy you laughed at because he was always crying? His mother is dying.

You think you know people? Chances are very good that you don’t. Be careful of your words and the judgments that you make towards others.  Your tongue is one of the most powerful weapons in the world…it can tear down someone and slice them to ribbons or it build them up and encourage them with one simple, kind word.

The choice is yours.

 

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