“Deflect the harsh words of my critics–but what you say is always so good.” Psalm 119:39
“Throw these out…they make you look fat”–a comment I received after offering my business card to a woman I had just met at a social gathering. The picture on the 2 by 3 inch card shows me in a black sleeveless dress, carrying my purse and bag of books, heading out the door for a speaking engagement. Before I could respond to her comment, she added, “You look ten years older in the picture… and ten pounds heavier than you do in person.” Another slam, not about me, but about my choice to use this picture on my business card. To make sure I got her point, she threw in (with Italian hand gestures), “Get new cards with a new picture!
In reading background information about Psalm 119:33-40, Charles Spurgeon (1834-92), a well-known preacher and author from England, wrote about David (author of Psalm 119) and how his quick temper may have influenced the words quoted above. David took slander of his name and character seriously. Spurgeon believes David may have feared how he might react when provoked by false statements about him. Yet, Spurgeon felt David understood what was important when he wrote: “God turns away our eyes from falsehood … we shall be kept from lies if we keep from lies.” David knew he could trust God to be the only one to truly critique him. And, I know this, also.
Perhaps the woman is right–I look fat and old in the picture. However, it wasn’t taken to apply for the Ms. Senior Arizona pageant. I won’t be getting new cards until I lose the ten pounds I’ve gained since the picture was taken. That might take ten years–about the time I plan to retire.
Lord, help us forgive the tongues of people who will never know how a few careless words can cause instant anger in someone’s heart. Amen