When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.1 Corinthians [13:11], KJV
It was New Year’s Eve.
I stood in a very long line in a store, waiting to check out. I needed shampoo and conditioner and so I had no choice but to wait.
Two women stood before me. A mother and her teenage, maybe junior or senior in high school, daughter. I started missing my two daughters, until…
The banter started. At first, it was just that, banter. But then the banter took a sharp right turn into heightened, and very unhealthy, sarcasm.
Banter: to speak to or address in a witty and teasing manner.Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Sparing details of the conversation, it centered on the mom stating, quite clearly and loudly, that she was going to a wedding and might be out all night.
“You took my 20’s from me, so I’m going to live them now,” she chided.
“But, Mom, you said we’d spend New Year’s Eve together,” the daughter said.
“Well, I wouldn’t call it together. Isn’t so-and-so (can’t remember daughter’s boyfriend’s name) going to be there? I wouldn’t call that ‘together.’ If you can have somebody, why can’t I go find somebody? Do you know how many New Year Eve’s I’ve spent alone?” Mom retorted, quite emphatically.
She repeated, “As I said, you took away the best years of my life, when I should have been having fun,” she said.
Banter slowly changed into sarcasm.
Sarcasm: a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain.Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Learning to LOVE WELL.
I’m happy to report that I held my tongue. I desperately wanted to intervene and interject my two-cents in their conversation. But, I’ve learned the fine practice of discretion and for that, I am most grateful. It wasn’t my place. I need to reserve my energy and collected strength for those “things” in my life that are my place.
Several aspects of observing this unhealthy conversation really bothered me:
- The lack of discretion: Didn’t she realize that over 20 people were actually listening in on her immature conversation with her young daughter?
- The lack of mutual respect: More than likely, this was their common mode of relating to one another. Their mojo. Probably passed on from generation to generation. I can’t be sure, but it is highly likely.
- The subtle digs: Tucked in-between the words and the back and forth were long-buried hurts that hinted at unresolved issues, regrets, and grudges.
- The overt sarcasm: Sarcasm is designed to cut and give pain. Sadly, we live in a sarcastic society and even more sadly, it is modeled by top government and public figures. It is now a very real mode of communication, albeit highly damaging and deeply disturbing.
- The loss of real intimacy and connection: The gravest consequence of all is the erosion of true, loving relationship.
I don’t have any doubts that these two women loved each other deeply.
They just don’t love each other well.
Put Away Childish Things
That conversation and mother-daughter relationship brought to mind the powerful words of Paul in 1 Corinthians [13:11], “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
Put away in the Greek, katargeo (v), means, “to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative. To cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency. To deprive of force, influence, or power.
Childish in the Greek, nepios (adj), means, “unskilled or untaught.”Strong’s Concordance of the Bible
I know you desire remarkable, heartlifting relationships. I do, too.
I want to love each and every person in my sphere of influence, well.
In order to actually see that develop in my life, I have to take Paul’s words to heart and intentionally “put away childish things.” That starts right in my very own heart.
As always, I invite you to join me. Let’s journey together. Take one action step, today, towards becoming our very best God-created selves.
My action step? Decreasing the pace of my life so I have more emotional energy for loving well.
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