New International Version
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
It's one of those verses that constantly runs through my head. It's one I repeat to myself and my children. I am especially thankful for this verse and the incredible importance of being obedient to it last week. I am constantly stopped at grocery stores by people, some well meaning and some just rude. They comment on the fact that I have four children, usually they say, "Whoa! You have your hands full!" And I reply happily, "the best kind of hands full that a person can have!" Sometimes we go on to chat a bit and sometimes that answer seems to surprise them and they just keep walking. A man at Dillons smiled sweetly at me, but then said, "Are these all yours? You must be crazy!" I smiled at him and introduced each of my children. My oldest shook his hand and then we went on to finish our shopping. In the car my two biggest kids asked me why people always say things like that. I explained that many people have not had the amazing pleasure of being surrounded by super cool kiddos, like themselves. People seem to forget that these little human beings have ears that hear and feelings that can get hurt. I was feeling especially sensitive to these types of experiences so when the cashier at Target last week said, "Are they all yours?" I was sure that I was going to want to knock her out, but I answered, yes. She went on, "whoa. Four, huh? You gonna have any more?" I heard James 1:19 run through my head faster than the snarky comments I wanted to make. I said, "I had to have a hysterectomy so no, we will not have any more biologically at least." She looked at one of my kids and back at me and I truly thought that her next words were going to ugly and that the mama bear in me was going to attack, but instead she said, "Well, honey, that is a shame. You sure do make some beautiful children."
I instantly felt tears. Tears because she was genuine and kind. Tears because I still mourn sometimes over being done having biological children. I told her thank you and to have a great day and we left. We got in our van (or swagger wagon as we prefer) and told my Heavenly Father thank you for teaching me to be slow to speak in that moment. Seems like such a small experience, but it nearly knocked me to my knees.
May I think the best of people. May I hear them. May I love them regardless of what they say.