Here’s some things I wish I had never said

Published 8:31 am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

If the title of this column has you wondering just what I am going to admit I have said that I wish I had not, you will be disappointed. Oh, there are plenty of things I have said that I wish I had not; too many, in fact, to remember.

As a pastor of a small membership church, there are lots of things I say and do in the performance of a Sunday morning service. The bottom line, I hope, is to praise God and make people glad that they came into the House of God. I am not always successful.

I have been a pastor for 20 years; that’s not all that much, but it is a lot of words said. Not surprisingly, an attribute that is good for a preacher is the love for talking, either in a Sunday morning service or in the visiting of the flock.

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My love of talking, though, did not begin with the call into the service of God. I can remember bringing home a report card (remember those days) and one of the categories on that little card was something known as “deportment.” Deportment was just one of the areas for which we were graded. It has to do with our behavior.

I received a “U” in that box beside Deportment. The “U” stood for Unsatisfactory. All other grades were marked “S,” as in Satisfactory.

Even at a young age, maybe third grade, I was aware that a “U” was not good. I might not have understood Deportment and was hoping that my parents would, also, be unaware of its meaning. Unfortunately, they knew what it meant, but also, just as unfortunate, the teacher made a comment.

Her comment was “Lynn talks too much.” That was plain enough for me to know that I could be in trouble.

“You might not be able to spell, write, or ‘cipher numbers, but you can, at least, be quiet,” my parents responded.

At that age, I was either too afraid or too confused to say, “No, I can’t!” My personality led me to an incessant need to be moving my mouth. Now, as I look back, I was in training for being a preacher.

I relate that story to emphasize that all of us say lots of things and, if we live long enough, all of us will say some things that we regret or that we say in immaturity of mind and spirit.

A certain lady, who has been in the news lately, I am sure, has done a lot of talking. I don’t really know her, but she is no shrinking violet, if you know what I mean. She would never have grown a successful empire of restaurants, television shows, and books without an outgoing and, even bold, personality.

It also turns out that she is pretty honest. When asked about words she might have said a long time ago, she acknowledged them, never perceiving the firestorm that one word would ignite. Her honesty, instead of being refreshing and celebrated,  has been very costly in terms of money and reputation.

I’m just glad no one had a tape recorder around me 40 or 50 years ago. People might say, “Bring back the guillotine.”