For most kids, there are those “exciting” birthdays – the 16th, the 18th, the 21st – and we often find ourselves counting down the days. As parents, we also get focused on 5 (ready for school), 10 (double digits), 13 (a teenager in my house, what?!) . . . you get the idea. And many a child or teenager has said, “I can’t wait till I’m a grown up and I can ________________”. You can fill in the blank for yourself.
But sometimes being a grownup stinks. Let’s be real. Paying bills, going to work, car repairs, insurance costs, home maintenance . . . you get the idea. Despite the belief of children, adults don’t get to do whatever they want.
The toughest part of being a grown up? Controlling your mouth. Using tact and diplomacy. There are times that we simply want to call another person out and let them know EXACTLY what we think of them. We may even have really juicy weapons/evidence to use against them to advance our own cause and foul up their agenda. But a grown up doesn’t do that. A grown up controls his or her tongue and even sometimes has to choose to be the bigger person. James 3:2 says “We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life.” (MSG)
It’s not fun. It isn’t easy. But it is part of growing up. Yes, there are times when we need to speak up. And it’s best if we are diplomatic, tactful, and constructive when we speak. But there are other times – and in my experience it’s the majority of times – when we must simply keep our mouths shut and let the other person “win”. And it’s SOOOO hard. Believe me. It would be so much easier – quicker, immediately more satisfying, etc. – to simply lower ourselves to the level of the other person and venting everything we know or feel. Easier, yes. But wrong. And immature.
So here’s the lesson learned – love on those who need it, keep a civil tongue in your head even when other’s don’t deserve it, and in the end every piece of truth that is necessary will come to light and those who REALLY matter will figure it all out. In the process, you will keep your integrity intact and be able to continue loving on those around you.