Pastor Cal's
Weekly Epistle

Every week Pastor Cal
writes a weekly column
for the Spirit Page of
the Norwich Bulletin.

He also sends it out to
members and friends of
the church via e-mail.

E-mail him at
calstigers@gmail.com if
you want to be added to
the weekly list.
Central Baptist Church of Westerly
16 Elm Street, Westerly, RI   02891
Phone: (401) 596-4929   

Check out our blog at Central Baptist Life
Celebrating the Freedom to Speak or Not to Speak           July 7, 2013

Dear friends,

I should have known better than to say it. I opened my mouth and was immediately
handed my foot. The one thing they didn't teach us in Lamaze classes is that the
husband needs to think before he opens his mouth. They probably figured that we
already were given that advice in premarital counseling classes. After all, we had
made it three years together at that point.

It was about 1:00 a.m. on the morning of July 3, 1985. Lori and I were expecting
our first child. I was timing the contractions. That's when I said it. When I think
back on everything that was happening back then, it does seem pretty silly.

I looked at the clock. I turned to Lori and said, "You should try to get some sleep.
You need your rest."  It came out innocently enough but it was the WRONG thing
to say at that moment. By shortly after eight o'clock that morning all was forgiven
when our daughter Rebecca arrived on the scene.

As I look back on that night, I have to confess that it wasn't the last foolish
comment I have made.  A lot of silly things have come out of my mouth over the
last twenty eight years. Some of them have been hurtful. Some of them have been
thoughtless. Many of them have come out of nowhere.

When I see the response that has flared up over words that Paula Deen said nearly
thirty years ago after a traumatic event in her life, I count myself lucky. Too often
we don't think before we speak. Our words come out of our pain or our ignorance  
They reflect our bias and sinfulness. That's why the Bible says we need to keep our
tongue in check.

Words have power to build up or to tear down.We read in Proverbs 12 that "the
words of the reckless pierce like swords but the tongues of the wise bring healing."
As we celebrate Independence Day in this country and tout our many freedoms, we
would be wise to remember the words of the apostle Paul who suggested that just
because we have the freedom to do (or say) something doesn't mean that we should
do (or say) it.

Let's celebrate this gift of freedom by sharing the Good news that God loves us and
is calling us back into relationship. May his peace and joy be always on your lips.

God bless. See you in church.  Cal