When You Think You’ve Been Foolish…

My kids giggle as I read from Proverbs 30.

“If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth.

For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.” (verses 32-33)

I love it when my kids hear something that will stay in their mind because it made them giggle.  I giggled a bit too but not for long because what I really needed to do was to put my hand over my mouth.

So after the giggle we talk about the serious side of these words.

It’s absurd when Christ-followers exalt themselves, act foolish or devise evil.  So absurd that we should indeed slap our hands over our mouths if we find that we are in the midst of this behavior.  The imagery can make us giggle a bit but it is the first step in a humble turn toward the Lord.  That first step can feel almost impossible if we have been foolish, but it’s not.

The stopping and the turning is more powerful than continuing on in the wrong direction.

This seemingly small mindless foolishness…it can sneak up on us.  Like pressing milk produces curds. Last fall, the kids and I sat around the dining room table and shook baby food jars filled with cream to make butter. An experiment in patience more than anything.  Just when my preschooler couldn’t take it anymore and I had to take over shaking her jar too, it happened. The cream started to thicken and produce curds.  Our long struggle and tiring movements produced something.  It snuck up on us though.  We almost gave up and then the moment happened unexpectedly.  We drained the whey and retrieved the yummy chunk of butter.

Repetitive foolish behavior does have a result. Never is it tasty.

Sometimes foolish behavior doesn’t sneak up. It’s quite deliberate.  Like walking up to someone and deliberately pinching their nose to the point of producing blood.  We humans can be outright rude and nasty like that.  I just unleashed the nastiness this morning on my husband.  Although I felt justified at the time, I wasn’t.  Nothing justifies rude with the people we love.  But isn’t that where it often happens?  I find it the easiest to love those outside my home. It is more challenging here in this place that is to be a refuge for those I love the most.

Since this foolish behavior is based in unchecked anger, I must recognize that it will always produce strife.  As sure as the pressing of the nose makes blood and the pressing of the milk makes curds.  It will happen either slowly through unchecked attitudes of the heart and passive aggressive behavior or quickly due to thoughtless and rude words or actions.

So what to do besides slap my hand over my mouth?

I must acknowledge it and seek forgiveness from my husband and rest in the Lord’s.

Just like I can always count on my family’s quick forgiveness and acceptance of an apology, I can also rest quickly in the Lord’s provision of grace through Christ.

I never have to stop and wonder if I’ve gone to far this time.

Grace is always there and through it God provides…

Forgiveness, wisdom, and strength in order to resist temptation now and in the future.

By His grace He examines, convicts and transforms our hearts and heals the hearts of those who have been hurt by us.

And just as repetitive rude actions can create strife, repetitive loving actions can create peace.

May that be so in all of our homes and churches with the people we love.

 Image source: Healthkicker.com

This post was featured at Richella Parham’s lovely blog, Imparting Grace:

Linking up this week with:

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29 thoughts on “When You Think You’ve Been Foolish…

  1. Great encouragement. I found you over at Christian Mommy blogger.

  2. Absolutely filled with encouragement and lots of mommy skill and patience. Loved it! There’s only one between us at Still Saturday.

  3. Deb Wolf.com says:

    Hi Amy, We’re neighbors at Kelli’s this week. What a wonderful reminder . . . to cover my mouth, to avoid foolishness, and to be quick to ask for forgiveness. Add a little patience and whew, I’ve got plenty to work on with God’s help and by His grace. I would love it if you would link this at CMB – I know it will bless my readers too.

  4. “The stopping and the turning is more powerful than continuing on in the wrong direction.” So true. Sometimes we feel we have to justify what we’re doing, so we keep going forward in the wrong direction and make ourselves believe we are right. But when we stop and admit that we are wrong, and actually turn around, that is grace in action! I thank God for giving us what we need to do that, if we’ll just be willing. May I be more willing to see truth when it’s staring me in the face. Thanks for this, Amy.

    • aljung72 says:

      Yes…I think you hit the nail on the head — if we are willing. He is more than willing and able to supply…but we must want it. Con.vict.ing! A prayer for real heart desires to change to want to be more like Him so much that we are willing to stop and turn. Isn’t that the beauty of our walk with Christ? To keep growing in this and doing this…hopefully more and more frequently or quickly…

  5. kd sullivan says:

    I too have often put hand over mouth, foot in mouth…been foolish with words…we are a work in progress…

    • aljung72 says:

      I wish it didn’t take an entire life this work in progress! But I guess we’ll never be done on this side of glory! Perhaps I should be in awe of this process…watching God’s grace work in my heart and life.

  6. joy says:

    Yes, we sometimes forget and we say things that shouldn’t have said or try to avoid the words, but it is in our thought…It is good to know that God is always there to remind us what to do if ever:)

  7. Lisa says:

    Wow, I love the visual of shaking the jar of cream. It speaks to us whether our actions are positive or negative. Either way, it all adds up after a while. Following on Twitter, I’d love a follow back!

    • aljung72 says:

      Yes…I’ve been thinking that this not only convicts but encourages us to be consistent and not give up in doing good. Because over time…the good (as well as the bad) adds up and makes an impact. Blessings…

  8. The cream in the baby food jar is a perfect analogy for life and the walk with Christ. Just when you’re about to give up, it turns.

  9. I love the way that proverbs are so simple, straight and to the point. Earthly wisdom indeed. Thanks for linking with Unforced Rhythms.

    • aljung72 says:

      Yes-simple enough for kids to understand (and for mama’s to explain) …that is why we’re using it right now in our family devotions. Love it. Thanks for visiting!

  10. I love how you captured them with giggles and then developed a message that went straight to their heart – went to mine, too!

  11. It is so true that we can take our nastiness out on those we love in a flash. Great reminders today and may we all strive for peace with repetitive loving actions! Visiting you from Whimsical Wednesday!

  12. Angie Webb says:

    Glad to connect with you from Tell His Story. Great post.

  13. balmtomysoul says:

    Thank you for the great reminder. Being foolish is something I can work on. Thanks for the post!!

  14. richellaparham says:

    Love this post! Thank you for sharing your own struggle.

    And thanks for joining Grace at Home! I’m featuring you this week!

    • aljung72 says:

      Thank you Richella! This is the second time and it always makes me smile :) when you tell me that. I’ve been busy this week with VBS and a bit distracted from my blog so this was a nice note to get! I appreciate your blog and your link-up!

  15. aljung72 says:

    Wanda–thank you for sharing my link on your site yesterday…what a nice surprise! I do hope that you find refreshment and renewal in order to get back to or continue on in whatever it is God is having you do in life. Thanks for visiting!

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