Speaking Off Pitch – He Said
Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you. Ecclesiastes 7:21 NIV
Junior year in chorus, Mrs. Marley bounced me from her class. It was my fault. I’d cussed her. Not intentionally, or to her face, but she heard me.
See, what happened was this. Kevin and I were sitting in the tenor section singing some lame Christmas carol and halfway through the first refrain, Mrs. Marley stops and tells me I’m flat. I didn’t think I was but when we restarted the song, I focused and tried harder. She stooped and told me to stop messing around, that I was still off. I’m a lot of things – off being one of them – but that time I was on pitch. We tried again. This time I didn’t sing at all, just mouthed the words.
She stopped and called me out. “Eddie, either sing it right or don’t sing at all.”
Mrs. Marley wandered over to the soprano section to give them an earful about something, I forget what. Kevin nudged my elbow and told me to settle down. Guess he could tell I was ticked by what I was saying under my breath.
“If you don’t shut up, she’s going to hear you,” he warned.
“Let her, the old bat. For all I care she can kiss…”
And that’s when Mrs. Marley ignored King Solomon’s warning to overlook the curse words of a singing servant.
It’s hard to disregard the harsh words and slander tossed at us. Just this week a friend got all bent out of shape because of a review of his book. “Let it go,” I advised. Like I ever do, I thought.
Catching barbs and hurling them back seldom does any good, but it’s tough to let it go. And yet, let it go we must.
The evening after I got bounced from Mrs. Marley’s class, my mom asked what happened. Somehow she knew – moms always know. I think God tattles on bad boys. When I finished explaining that it wasn’t even me singing off pitch, she said firmly: “Tomorrow you will go back and apologize.”
“But I’m not –”
“No buts. She goes to our church, for goodness sake. How will it look, you getting thrown out of her class for cussing at her?”
Next day I apologized to Mrs. Marley. Later, she wrote a college letter of recommendation on my behalf. I saw her a couple of years ago and she remembered me without introduction. I didn’t bring up the “incident.”
All this is a way of saying, if I cussed in my heart this week, I’m sorry. Hope you’ll forgive me.
And forget it ever happened.
Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you… Ecclesiastes 7:21 NIV
This individual cares what others think about them. They desire to please.
A grin parted my lips as I scanned through the results of my McQuaid Personality Test. I was curious to see if I agreed with the test, so when the first result line stated I desired to please and I cared what others thought about me, the McQuaid hammer hit the nail on the head.
It’s true. I’d rather be horsewhipped than to think someone is angry with me. My mother will attest. I was an easy child to discipline. Simply showing her disappointment tore me to pieces.
As the little girl with blue cat-eye glasses, most of my childhood friends chose the more popular girls as their buddies once we reached high school. I felt the pressure of the other girls as they leaned into one another, covered their mouths, and whispered. I felt their judgmental eyes drop a noose around my neck and pull. Yes, I cared what others thought and honestly … it hurt.
God offered Solomon a gift and Solomon chose wisdom. Looking at Ecclesiastes we almost want to sign Solomon up for counseling and antidepressants. He didn’t realize the gift or the curse of his wisdom. It took time for him to refocus this new found ability and the weight it bore. Solomon then saw the world differently and as he sorted it out, he began to put it into perspective. The wisdom he spouted was nothing short of … well … wise. Among his tidbits, he realized people will be nice to your face and then rake you over the coals when your back is turned. His thought process was simple: Ignore it. This is how people are. And if you’re honest, you’ll see you’ve done the same thing. Worrying about it only serves to keep you in turmoil.
Most of my problem was childhood insecurities, but I decided my junior year in high school, the game would change. I would excel. I learned Solomon was right. Don’t pay attention to everything folks say. it’s not worth it. And so, I began to make life changes, pushing myself through the fear and shyness and into a place of respect. It was hard work and honestly … still is.
These days, if I call my friend Edie and say, “Is that really what people think?” she quickly reminds me that I am precious to her and God. It doesn’t matter what others may say.
If the words of others weigh you down, let them go. Strive to please the one who developed the original personality test. The only words that count … are His.
Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles are friends and cofounders of ChristianDevotions.us. They cowrite the popular He Said, She Said devotions and host Blog Talk Radio’s Christian Devotions SPEAK UP! along with Scott McCausey. Eddie and Cindy travel and speak at conferences across the country and they are available to speak at your church or conference. Contact them at email@example.com.
Do you sense something vital missing from you relationship with your spouse, children, and God? Try He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion. This compilation of 54 devotions includes scripture verses, space for journaling, individual prayers and words of wisdom from two of today’s funniest and insightful Christian authors. This heart-warming collection of stories will inspire you to reach for the true source of joy: a life lived for and through God. These deeply personal devotions offer biblical insights and spiritual truths from the perspective of one man and one woman.