2017-08-31 / Opinions

People hurl insults like water balloons but we should ignore, and have respect

By ROGER ALFORD
columnist

A young bride-to-be was talking to her friend about her fiancé.

“He keeps telling everyone he’s going to marry the most beautiful girl in the world,” she said.

“What a shame,” her friend replied. “And after all this time you’ve been engaged to him.”

Best friends can get by with saying such things in jest, I suppose. But the Bible warns against handing out insults.

“Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense” (Proverbs 11:12).

Last year, a Canadian comedian was ordered to pay $35,000 to a singer who was the butt of one his jokes. No one wants to be the subject of put-down comedy. Yet, people tend to poke fun at spouses, siblings, parents, children, co-workers, classmates, and the list goes on.

The story is told about a man walking through town in a cowboy hat he had just purchased when he passed by a smart aleck woman. “You look almost like a man today,” the woman said. “So do you,” the fellow responded.

Hurling insults has become an American pastime, and some people stay busy trying to think up fresh ammunition. God’s word says we should never let it be known that we’re bothered when they’re aimed at us.

“The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult” (Proverbs 12:16).

I was at a family reunion a few weeks ago and enjoyed watching the children engage in a friendly water balloon fight. It looked so refreshing on a hot summer day that some of the grownups jumped in.

One of my nephews, in his 20s, proved to have incredible aim, lobbing the balloons with great accuracy, landing them with a splash on his cousins. But one person he never once took aim at: his fiancé. Though she landed a couple on him, leaving him dripping wet, he would not retaliate.

I asked him why, and his answer was simple and profound. “Because she’s going to be my wife.”

Like my nephew with the water balloons, we should consider our targets before we lob insults or disparaging words. Whether it’s our future wife, schoolmates, or co-workers, they’re fellow human beings made in the image of God and worthy of being treated with dignity and respect.

Perhaps we could all aim to be more like the fiancé in that opening story who had nothing but good to say about his future wife, and less like the friend who delivered the cutting remark.

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

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