I ain't no "Little Miss Ray of Sunshine"; but after last night's encounter with a person at the football game, I look like a lighthouse beacon! Oh sure, I get a little sarcastic when watching football on TV and even question play calling while in the stands of the local high school team. In my living room, I am obnoxious. In the stands of the local football field I say things in my head not off my lips. Either way, I am still an armchair quarterback.
Last night, I perched on the top row of the visitor's side for a nice vantage point and settled in to watch the game. A person walked up the aisle and proceeded past me to my left. Have you ever sensed when someone is aching to start a conversation? Out of the corner of my eye, I could see this person looking my way. After about 3 or 4 minutes the person spoke, "Are you from here or are you with the visiting team?" I looked over and said, "I am from here." Then the dam busted! In no particular order, here were the blistering commentary points I got to hear for the next ten minutes:
1. This coach of ours has no clue.
2. Why is that defensive safety playing so far off the receiver?
3. Why do we keep running up the middle?
4. When we switched leagues we didn't upgrade.
5. Next year will be worse than this year.
6. The other team is too fast for us.
7. We're going to lose tonight.
8. Well, I wonder how long before the coach pulls the quarterback tonight?
As the comments were peppered in my direction, I nodded my head and tried to temper them with a positive aspect of the thought. In some cases I would agree with the person's statements. After another ten minutes went by, another person came and joined the top row and immediately became the newest dumping ground for the first person's diatribe. The Thumper rule is always a good place to start any conversation and even moreso when the conversation drips with sarcastic anger. Clearly, the person to my left has had an ongoing disagreement with the football coach, the school district, and anyone who does not agree with him.
"A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly." (Proverbs 12:23, NIV)
Nearing the end of the first half, I finally found out the person's major issue. He is a glass half empty kind of person. Nothing is ever good no matter the situation. As he walked by me, he said, "I'm going to go to the restroom before it gets busy. Humph, it probably already is...."
The Thumper Rule is something we have tried to teach our children. If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all. The other day, I was going on about constructive criticism and how important it is to do it. The difference between constructive criticism and an angry tirade is found in trying to help another person improve themselves rather than belittle and degrade another's efforts.
"A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit." (Proverbs 26:24, NIV)
Jesus had some things to say about this:
“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the
things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of
the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These
are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ ”
(Matthew 15:17-20, NIV)
Everyday, we have opportunities to influence our world. Let's inspect our hearts and see if darkness abounds. If so, then it's time to let the light shine in. God's Spirit is willing to be the filter for our thoughts and words if we'll let him work. It is time to allow the Thumper Rule to reign.
PS: The local football team won the game!