THE PREACHER WAS CAUGHT SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE OF A MUD-SLINGING WORD WAR! Hold the phone…
An Oklahoma University football season ticket holder, he knows all the devotees in the sea of red surrounding him. Each week they greet each other like long lost friends on a weekend retreat.
But for some reason, the usual entourage seated behind him were absent. The Preacher and our oldest were dismayed to find themselves stuck in front of six fans from the opposing team.
Within minutes of start, loud and grating diatribes laced with a constant profusion of profanity, sliced through the thick-with-tension air. The home fans volleyed back with sharp retorts. After enduring a good part of the first quarter, and an accidental elbow to the head, The Preacher turned slow to face the antagonists.
With measured calm he appealed, “We understand your excitement and we want you to cheer for your team, but can you drop the bad language?” Not giving an inch, they bowed up like a banty rooster, and pointed to the nearby student section, citing their profanity as no different.
In a show of solidarity, Luke chimed in, “There are little kids in front of us that don’t need to hear this.” As further fodder to shore up his dad’s request, he threw in the ace of spades. “He’s a preacher!”
Sad but true, the “preacher card” worked. One young man began apologizing all over himself, “I have the utmost respect for you, I am so sorry…yada, yada, yada…” And the tide was turned for the moment.
End of story? Not even close…
After returning from a break downstairs, The Preacher noticed a discernible strain in the atmosphere between his seat mates and the opponents. A taunt had been thrown down at the opposition, “You might as well go home, it’s not going to get any better,” and of course, they flipped out. Again.
When the father and adult son, on The Preacher’s row, got up for popcorn, a nose-to-nose face off ensued again—with my son smooshed in between. The father blew a gasket, and berated the most verbose one. Heated retorts fired back and the sparks fanned ablaze again.
“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” James 3:5
But my level-headed son played peacemaker with a self depreciating remark, and a chuckle, “Well, we’ve certainly been known lose our grip in the end.” And delivered a firm nudge to usher the OU fans out into the isle for their snack. Stomping off, the two were gone an eon.
And then something amazing happened. Wait for it…
The Father/Son duet returned, arms stacked tall with twelve Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. The father told the brash fans, “We want you to have a good time and a great experience in this stadium.” He proceeded to apologize for flying off the handle, and loaded them up with a delicious peace offering!
That’s what I call an incredible, edible, olive branch!
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18
Ever make a rash statement you regretted as soon as the words spun tornadic from your lips, like a whirling dervish? We know well the guilt of ill-timed words, which cannot be retracted once slung sharp into the universe. But we must forgive ourselves and move forward.
Three ways to propel us past our mis-steps and regain our sanity:
1. Let your actions speak louder than words.
2. Let time heal the wound and fuzzy the memory.
3. Let kindness and a loving heart be the who you are.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8