Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    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. (NIV)

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The Mouth Speaks

Posted by elainemcooper on August 24, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

Still waiting for the morning caffeine to kick in, my groggy mind perked up at the news report on the TV: High School valedictorian refused her diploma because she said “How the he_ _” in her graduation speech.


My curiosity got the better of me as I turned up the news. It seems this A-student had written her speech out ahead of time and within the contents of her draft, she was going to say something like, “If people ask me what I want to do with my life, I’m going to say, ‘How the heck should I know?’”

Seems reasonable, given the mindset of most 18-year-olds. I know because I used to be one. We won’t say exactly how long ago, but it was after everyone was gossiping about whether or not Beatle Paul McCartney was dead.

But I digress…

So, instead of the young lady saying “heck” during her presentation, she used the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks! That is the polite way to write the word, according to my husband. Unless of course you are referring to the place of eternal fire…but I digress again.

I did not throw my shoulders back in pride when I heard her mistake and say, “Well, I never!” because frankly, I did.

Years ago my mouth was trashier than that. I hung around with friends who loved using all kinds of foul words, some much worse than the slip of this valedictorian’s tongue. My heart went out to her. Her language, which she undoubtedly uses in private with friends of like vocabulary, suddenly slipped out in a very public forum. I can only imagine her consternation once she realized what she had said.

I was reminded of the verse where Jesus is berating the Pharisees: “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil, say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34 NIV)

Before anyone rises up in indignation, I am neither condemning the school district nor the graduate in this situation. The Lord knows, I have nothing to be proud of in my sinful past before I became a follower of Jesus Christ. The Lord helped me find new friends—and a new vocabulary. He’s still working on lots of other areas in my life.

What I am saying about this situation is that it is what we do and say in a non-public forum that will eventually be revealed in the public arena. We can’t hide our true selves forever.

Just look at all the politicians, preachers, and others in the public eye who we suddenly discover have secret sins that they thought they could cover. It all comes out eventually—even the simple fumbles like saying “he_ _” when all we meant to say was “heck.”

One thing that Jesus says about sinners—whether saved by grace or enjoying their sin—is that eventually we will all acknowledge Who He is. And we will all fall on our knees before Him.

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
(Philippians 2:9-11 NIV)

Thank you to Alison Herr for modeling in this photo! As far as I am aware, she has never said H-E-Double Hockeysticks. :)

6 Responses to “The Mouth Speaks”

  1. Well, I’m still trying to picture you cussing like a sailoress, but it’s just not coming to me. I, on the other, have the hair on…well, never mind-TMI-…to prov it. And that speech came from Twilight, which I’m sure did not invent the idea. Anyway…no matter what the word actually is, it all comes out of our hearts. Now there’s a picture. Shaking my head.

    • I’m shaking my head that God can pick any of us up from the trash heap of sin and actually make us clean enough to be redeemed. Now THERE’s a difficult concept to grasp! Thank God for His grace!

      And it’s nice to know that it’s difficult to picture my sinful past. Just shows how much the Lord has done in me. :) Thanks for coming by.

  2. patches24 said

    You cussing… hard to picture, but that came out of your mouth, so well….. Good reasoning. Just would add as a solution Phil 4:7 Whatever things are true, honest, pure, of good report, think on these things. If this is done, the results can be predicted when the mouth opens.
    Thanks for sharing

    • Thanks so much! And, again, so happy to know that now it is difficult to picture me cussing. God is faithful when we humble ourselves before Him. And yes, I SO appreciate Phil. 4:7. ALWAYS a great verse to hold onto. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Wow Elaine, Great post! I do agree that when we are with our friends and families we say things we wouldn’t want the world to know we are capable of saying (“hiding”).

    • Thanks so much, Emelia. It’s so important to be a light in the darkness both at home and in public. We are all human for certain. But the goal is to follow God’s ways and not the world’s ways that we so easily can be drawn toward. Thanks so much for commenting!

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