2017-08-24 / Opinions

Be careful what you say when anesthesia is wearing off; make kind words your habit


A fellow waking up from anesthesia looked around and saw his wife sitting at his bedside.

“You are so beautiful,” he said before dropping back to sleep.

A few minutes later, his eyes opened again, his wife was still right there.

“You’re cute,” the man said.

“Cute,” his wife responded. “What happened to beautiful?”

“The drugs are wearing off,” he said.

We laugh at that as a funny joke. But, if it were true, it would be entirely inappropriate. Scripture calls for us to build up other people, not tear them down. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the world is filled with people whose very existence seems to be to tear others down, and they seem to be multiplying in number these days.

I can’t tolerate listening to the hateful talking heads on TV and radio these days. They rarely have a kind word for anyone. Facebook and Twitter are filled with more of the same. In many workplaces and schools, we typically have a few who spent too much of their time engaging in damaging criticisms of others. And, all too often, it invades even our churches and our homes.

Our Lord expects better of us.

“Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you” (Ephesians 4:29).

Doing otherwise certainly has its pitfalls. There’s the story of the woman who invited the ladies from her Bible study class to her home for dinner. With everyone gathered around the table, she asked her five-year-old daughter to say the blessing. “I wouldn’t know what to say,” the little girl responded.

“Just say what you hear Mommy say,” her mother said.

The little girl thought for a moment, then bowed her head and prayed: “Lord why on earth did I invite these persnickety women to dinner anyway?”

We need to be good examples for our children. They’re watching us like hawks, or perhaps like mockingbirds, because they’re very likely to repeat anything we say.

That’s a great reason why we should do as the Bible instructs and use only the kind of words that build people up. It’s a good idea to make a habit doing just that, so that, if ever we find ourselves waking up from anesthesia, we’d have trained ourselves to have a compliment ready for whoever is at our bedside.

(Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at rogeralford1@gmail.com.)

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