What You Say is What You Are

Two days ago, I was driving an unfamiliar car out of an unfamiliar car park. It was snowy and the windscreen was foggy, but I was being as careful as I knew to be. I saw pedestrians around me but I wasn’t close to knocking anyone down, and didn’t skid.

As I waited for a break in traffic to pull out onto the main road (the one that reaches from Moscow to Paris!), a woman knocked on my window and harshly told me to pay attention when I drive out of there. Through the window, I said I’m sorry. She started walking away, then turned around again and pointed her finger at her head: “Stupid nun!”

I nodded dumbly because I can’t defend myself in Polish, beyond saying “You’re right. I’m sorry.” Her words shook me because I’m not the brightest light on the street, but I’m not used to being called stupid.  Which says more about the people around me than about me. But I wasn’t crushed or devastated by her rudeness.

It’s something I’ve heard all my life, but only recently the penny dropped for me, and I see that what someone says about me or does to me reveals more about them than about me. The rude lady on the street. The hurtful words or actions directed at me. Neglect or carelessness that hurt me. None of that means that I deserve those words and actions, that I’m stupid or unworthy of care. It only reveals the perspective and the life experience of the one whose words and actions I receive.

Not that I’m perfect and never fail, and never need to be called to higher things. But no one ever deserves rudeness or abuse or harshness, no matter how imperfect they are.

But it cuts both ways. When I judge/criticize/make a statement about someone else, I’m revealing my own heart more than I am giving an accurate picture of that person. When I call someone unfeeling or impossible or thoughtless, chances are that I’m saying words that describe me.

Ouch.

6 thoughts on “What You Say is What You Are

  1. I loved this post, Anita! Your write so, so well, and what you say is worth reading every time. Interestingly enough, I was mentally chiding an acquaintance for being thoughtless, harsh and maybe even self-centered. Your post made me stop and think! 🙂 My thoughts precede my words, and my attitudes precede and color both. Thanks for the timely reminder!

    • I’m not saying we can’t call a spade a spade. But it’s paramount that we speak the truth in love and that’s usually where I get caught.

  2. wow Thank you from the bottom of my heart for these timely words of wisdom. I for 1 deffiently needed to hear them. And put them to spiritual warpath practice. I want to point fingers at others but it has helped me step back and be more gracious towards others. Thanks for being a shinning light an a vessel in God’s Hands. I really love reading your post.Thanks again.

  3. This incidents often hurt more than we want to acknowledge, because they are so unjust. I’ve thought that people who strike out like that are in great pain inside. They have a spirit of unforgiveness, both for themselves and those around them. Maybe they were raised by parents who judged harshly and did not forgive, or have done things in their own lives yet have not learned forgiveness from Christ. It seems to bubble out when someone else does even a small thing. All that self condemnation lashes out at a victim, and so the hurt continues. Rest in the comfort that you DO know forgiveness and are a forgiving soul, give thanks for that, and pray for that woman who is so clearly deeply unhappy. We must all guard our words and instant responses. A good lesson. Thank you Anita.

  4. Yes, yes, yes!! All the lights went on hugely and brightly when I digested your latest post. Thank you so much. I’m doing a word study on “judge, judgement” right now and I’ve not come very far, but far enough to discover that every single time (so far) it denotes a reciprocal action. All about the same judgement coming to me that I mete out to others. I am amazed at the consistency, and can’t wait to discover more.

    And by the way, you are as stupid as you are a nun!!

    Love you – ant sooh

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