Trash talk

goatToday the United States Naval Academy football team will play the United States Military Academy football team. GO NAVY!!! This game has been going on since 1890 and is traditionally the last division 1 game played during the regular season.

To be honest, I knew nothing about the Army-Navy game until I met John. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1965 and loves watching the game every year. We would be watching the game with other USNA alumni today, but I am down hard with a cold and so we will watch it at home. I have no doubt that we will have a great time, clapping our hands, shouting and cheering Navy on. I enjoy watching the game because John enjoys watching it. And, if he had to be somewhere else today, I would still watch it just because he loves this particular football game. Because he is a fan, I am a fan!! GO NAVY!!!

Isn’t that funny? I would watch a game just because my amazing husband likes it. Isn’t that what we who love others do?  John lives love: I have no idea how many times he has sat through an episode of “Chopped” or one of a hundred HGTV shows just because I enjoy watching them. The other day, I was showing him my latest cross-stitch project and he commented about how the outlining I was doing changed the picture so much. That isn’t the kind of observation that anyone would make casually; he understands how my projects develop. And, I love it when he mentions something he heard on one of his favorite radio shows and I can discuss it with him because I heard the same segment.

We grow to enjoy things because they please the people we love.

Unfortunately, some people just don’t get it. I cringe when I hear a wife say hurtful things about her husband. Please understand that I don’t mean someone having a moment of frustration, I mean saying things that are hurtful.

Growing up, I remember a couple who was about my parents’ age. During a church potluck dinner, I observed the wife do a terrible thing to her husband. I was shocked but Mom saw the look in my eyes and gave me the “stay quiet” look. Later, she and I talked about it. Mom tried to brush it off, but I knew that she was trying to help me remain respectful of the couple. What her look and attitude taught me was that people who love each other don’t intentionally hurt each other.

Trash talk has become popular and it breaks my heart. You can hear it at the store – a parent being cruel to their child, a child mocking their parent. It is all over social media.  Hurting another never builds the relationship, never benefits anyone, and never demonstrates love. When we practice hurting those we love, we hurt others more easily – what happens in the family happens in the community.

So, how do we stop? The answer is simple – stop bad behavior, start good behavior. When painful comments take place between people around you: pray, demonstrate love, and comment if you think you should.  When you hurt someone, apologize quickly and sincerely and ask God to help you to change your ways, words and thoughts.

During this holiday season, let us speak words of love and hope to each other. Let us enjoy doing the things that make those we love happy.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) “Encourage one another and build each other up.” (I Thessalonians 5:11a)

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