Published on Feb 7th, 2018 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0

Heal I live near Philadelphia and I listen to Philly sports talk shows most of the time in my car. If you haven’t heard, or if you don’t care about sports, the Eagles won the Super Bowl the other night. They beat the New England Patriots. Needless to say, but the fans around here have been a bit excited. There have been a number of fans who have called up the radio stations and have become so overwhelmed by emotions that they have started to cry. They have waited their whole lives for this to happen. I know the excitement when your home town wins a championship. I am originally from Cleveland and was excited and proud when the Cavs won the NBA championship. I didn’t cry, but I was excited.

Due to my interest in sports I have read many articles and watched many news clips about the victory. It truly has been nice to see so many of the Eagles making sure that they gave glory to “their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ”. These men have great testimonies and sincere faith.

One article I read was about Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele. Tom Brady is the quarterback of the Patriots and he has played in 8 Super Bowls and has won five. He is often called the G.O.A.T. (The Greatest of All Time). After this loss, Gisele was heard trying to console her children. They were upset that dad had lost. She was telling them that it was all right, that daddy had won before, and then she told her kids that sometimes it is nice to let other people win. We don’t have to win all the time. She was doing what any other mother would do in a situation where people are around, your children are upset and you are trying to quickly handle an awkward situation. The writer of the article spent many words just ripping Gisele. How could she say that daddy let someone else win? Did he somehow play less hard so that the Eagles could prevail? How disrespectful to the Eagles. He continued to blast her as a bad mom because her children would now grow up with warped ideas about winning and losing. I understand, that in hindsight, he might have some good points and maybe there were better ways to address their strong emotions but in the moment, she was doing what we have all done. She was just trying to calm her children down. I wanted to write an article about eavesdropping on a private moment for a family who just suffered a disappointment.

I might be a little sensitive to this kind of thing due to the many comments I have been picking up on lately. Some of them have been coming out of my own mouth. It seems that too many of us find it way to easy to criticize or give advice when it wasn’t asked for or needed. The things we say may be surrounded by a nice comment or two but the one negative zinger is often the only thing heard. For instance, someone gets a new white car. We admire the car, say it is a nice car, and then add that white is not our favorite. Why? Why do we need to add that last line? Apparently, the one who bought the car likes white or they would have picked another color. This moment is not about you but somehow we feel the need to give our opinion. Too often our response is that annoying line, “Just saying”. Your “just saying” is not helpful and, over time, just picks away at the joy of others.

As we get older, as believers, you would think that we would learn to be more careful with our mouths. That we would think differently than the world who thinks that the older you get the more you are allowed to share your opinion. As older believers, we should have the eyes, ears, and compassion of Jesus and should be more sensitive to the feelings of others. I am wondering, as we get more set in our ways, do the little things mean more to us than they did when we were younger? Do we really care so much about how we like things that we just can’t seem to help to push our wants over the wants of others? Maybe we are just wearing out. We have given in so many times that we just want things our way? “Lovely service, great message, but the music was too loud.” “Great meal, honey, but the vegetables needed more salt”. “Thanks for driving. Never thought we could get here that fast.” “Great job, might want to slow down a little, but a great speech.” Nice words, surrounded by opinion. Why?

Paul says this, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for the building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Did the words of the writer of the article seek to build up or to minister grace? No, they were simply meant to criticize. They did not fit the occasion. Do the words that we use today seek to build up? To give grace, giving something that is not deserved? Do they fit the occasion? Is this really the time to be giving advice? Or is this a time to simply be encouraging? Maybe, in our opinion, the music was too loud, the vegetables needed more salt, the driver needed to slow down, and the speaker could speak slower but does your sharing those opinions, at that time, encourage or bring discouragement? Are you really thankful that they drove if you are critical of how they drove? Was it really a good service, in your opinion, if the last thing you leave them with was how you didn’t like the volume of the music?

Let me leave all of us with this thought...Why? Why do we feel the need to add our opinion? Do we really believe that all things are about us? Do we really lack enough compassion for a mom that is struggling in a difficult situation that we rip her instead of recognizing the struggle of the moment? Let’s put others first today and seek to encourage rather than discourage.

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