I have a big gob. I often put my foot in it. When I was a teenager I worked, for a time, in Safeways. This time was characterised by complaints. One day I was on the till serving a member of staff who had just got off work. She noticed my WWJD band and asked about it, and I promptly explained. The elderly couple next in line seemed somewhat fidgety and were looking around quite a lot. After I have finished serving the member of staff they approached and I learned what their problem was.
‘Do you think it’s right’ started the old lady ‘that you spend all that time talking to a member of staff when there are customers waiting?’ Now let me state for the record that I hadn’t taken any longer than usual, our conversation had lasted the time it took me to scan her shopping and take her money, with that in mind I retorted politely ‘Ma’am if you knew me you would know that I am a polite young man who talks to all my customers, because that’s just the way I am.’ At this reasonable reply the old lady’s husband made to storm off to customer services. ‘Leave it’ said the old lady ‘We have never had this before.’ To which I replied ‘Unfortunately I get it everyday.’ At which old man promptly stormed off to complain.
I was speaking to a group of men about being disappointed with God and how within that we can run our mouths off to Him and whoever will listen. Before we know it the reason for our disappointment starts to define us rather than being defined by our creator. Listen to Job after God reminds him of who his Creator is:
Job 40: 1-5: ‘The Lord said to Job: ‘Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!’ Then Job answered the Lord: ‘I am unworthy – how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer – twice, but I will say no more.’
Could we learn from Job – that once we have got our grievance, rant, point of view, grief or whatever it is out, once we have spoken we will not speak it out again. But instead put our hands over our mouth – forcibly if needed. And the reason? So we don’t dwell in the pit of despair, but instead sit before God in reverence and awe, holding our hands over our mouths.