Keeping Our Mouths Out of Trouble


"Oh, I wish I hadn't said that!"  Are there any of us above age 12 that hasn't said that to ourselves? How do we avoid "mouth trouble?"

If it's any consolation, none of us stays out of "mouth trouble" 100 percent of the time. People who teach and preach have additional exposure to this malady.


The story is told of a Congressman who got into one of these situations, big time. It was not long after the end of the Second World War, and President Truman was inviting world leaders to the White House for peaceful meetings and dialogue. Good will was in the air.


One night at a large banquet, a member of the House of Representatives sat down at a formal dinner at the White House. There were many foreign dignitaries, and he didn't recognize the man from China sitting across from him. The meal began, and conversation seemed a bit awkward. Believing he had correctly sized up the "China man" across from him, in his carefully condescending voice (believing the man knew little English), H. Rep. said to the Asian guest, "Likee soupee?" The dignitary said nothing but only nodded Yes.


After annother course or two of the formal meal, the introduction of the night's keynote speaker began. The night's speaker seemingly had been everywhere, done everything, and graduated at least once from all the right universities. He was a war hero also. Imagine H. Rep's shock when the person who stood up and headed for the podium was the "China man" from across the table!


The dignitary from China delivered a 20 minute address in perfect Oxford English. In fact, his English was better than the Congressman's. After the first two sentences, and remembering "Likee soupee?", H. Rep. was wondering what he was going to say to his new Chinese acquaintance when he returned to his seat. After the first minute, the Congressman instead spent the rest of the time of the speech wondering what the "China man" would say to him.


The speech ended in thundering applause and the Chinese dignitary returned to his seat. Small conversations resumed and soon he and H. Rep. were once again in their small little world. Said the Chinese dignitary to our Congressman, "Likee speechee?"


How do we avoid problems like that? It's not a matter of training the lips, palate, and vocal chords. It's a matter of training the mind. Jesus said in Matthew 12:34  . . . for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. " If we don't think it, we won't say it! H.Rep's enigma began when he assumed that if the other man's skin wasn't white, he didn't know English. "Likee soupee" communicated his estimation of his Chinese friend's education, and the "China man" gave H. Rep. a measured, if polite, correction.


Rom 14:10  But thou, why dost thou judge thy brother? or thou again, why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of God. 


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Sid Womack, webmaster


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