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saying the wrong thingThanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house ……. the whole extended family and my little brood of hellions were all sitting around the table munching our meal quietly. Suddenly in the silence between bites, my 5-year-old son blurted out, “You know what my daddy does sometimes? He sticks his hand up my mama’s dress.”

Utensils fell among snickers, gasps, and coughing ………

While I waited for all the blood that had rushed to my face to retreat to its proper place in my body, I choked down a mouthful of turkey and tried to regain my composure. I thought, “Why did he say that? And why now?”

All I could do is remind myself,  “Someday the purpose for this embarrassing moment will be made crystal clear ……….. someday ……..someday.”

Maybe that day is today.

Here’s the interesting part of this story – what my son said was true. However, the information was completely misunderstood because no one in the room, other than my immediate family, knew where that vision in his head originated. Here’s what really happened:

It was a typical Saturday morning in the Claxton family living room. The kids were running around playing or watching TV. Jane, my wife, was standing on a chair, changing a light bulb in the ceiling fan and yes ……….. she was wearing a dress, a long calf-length dress. I, being the prankster that I am, sneaked up behind her, slipped my hand up the hem of her dress and tickled her legs. She squealed and we all laughed – end of story …….. until that infamous Thanksgiving dinner. Obviously the prank stuck firmly in my young son’s mind.

Word of warning – don’t do or say anything in front of a child that you don’t want made public!

Just because something is true doesn’t mean that it bears repeating. My son didn’t mean to embarrass his parents nor did he think the comment was out of place. He was just trying to lighten the mood with a funny story. He lacked the wisdom and restraint to know that his statement would be misconstrued.

The point – telling the truth, even if done in earnestness, can backfire and splatter turkey and dressing all over your face if not presented in the proper context.

Romans 16:17-19 (ESV)

17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.

Telling the truth without proper context is not actually the truth….. even the truth can be abused and manipulated.

The phrase interpreted smooth talk comes from chréstologia, two Greek words combined –

  • xrēstós – describes what God defines is kind and eternally useful!
  • légō – to come to a conclusion

In layman’s terms, Paul was writing about a person who has taken something that under normal circumstances is true, kind, eternally good, and useful and manipulated it for his own benefit. He has presented it out of context or left out important facts causing you to come to the wrong conclusion. That is a misrepresentation of the truth. If caught, such a person might respond, “Hey, I was telling the truth!” Yeah, but didn’t tell the whole truth, just your version of it. That’s deceitful! The apostle warns us to watch out for these kinds of people. Unfortunately, the warning wouldn’t be necessary if the problem didn’t exist.

These are some of the last words included in Paul’s letter to the Romans. The appeal is to use good judgment in how you listen, being careful not to believe everything you hear ………. sometimes vital facts are left unspoken.

I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.

 Excellent advice from Paul. Excellent advice ……..

Have a mug full of something hot and tasty and let’s get our day off to a good start!

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com