Sometimes, someone will say something that has more than one meaning and may have more than one effect. I am not necessarily talking about politics, but many politicians seems to be masters of “double speak.” I have in mind what we say to others and the meaning behind our words.
Yesterday afternoon, after the Junior Hight Girls Basketball practice, I shot some hoops with some 8th grade boys as they waited for their coach to finish with the Football Team. The guys were showing out, and began to challenge me to do the things they were doing. I did and upped the ante with a few “old school street-ball” moves. After a few trips up and down the court, they asked if I played college ball and if I had considered playing after college. I did not play college ball and told them I was too old for professional sports. In an effort to put my age in perspective, I told them I was “older than Brett Farve.”
After a collective gasp Jonathan spoke up, “No way, Farve is like 40 or something.” Ben added, “Coach, You’re not THAT old.” I hated to admit it but I am older.
How should I take this? I could feel insulted because I do not think 43 is old. I could feel complimented because they thought I was younger. I am choosing the second option.
Now as I reflect on the possible double meaning of Jonathan and Ben’s comment, I could not help but think of the words we say and the meaning behind them. For example the Southern expression, “Bless your (their) heart.” This phrase sounds very genteel, but we sometimes mean it less than kind (i.e. Bless their heart, they just are the way they are, look at who their parents are.)
Maybe we need to be reminded of Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 4:29-32,
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (ESV)”