“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV)
As a working mom, I often feel like I’m looked down upon by other moms who don’t work outside the home. I feel like some of the advice that these moms give is geared towards the fact that I’ll be home all day. I start to believe that I’m less of a mom because I don’t stay home all day with my little one, while making delicious meals and creating wonderful play/learning experiences.
And I start resenting those moms who write the mom blog advice stuff. Now, don’t get me wrong here. Stay-at-home moms are some of the hardest working people I know. There are days on the weekends that make me realize that I could not be a full-time stay-at-home mom. My own mom was a stay-at-home mom. Stay-at-home moms are some tough chicks. But in frazzled fits of jealousy (because I’m not at home wearing jeans and loving on my little one) and desperation (because there never seems to be enough time and, for some reason, I think that if I didn’t have an out-of-the-home job, there would be more time), I’ve thought things like, “Oh, you say you don’t have time to do anything because you’re a stay-at-home mom and stay-at-home moms work so much harder than everyone else and la-di-da-di-da. You just posted that you are training for a marathon and you just picked fresh veggies from your garden and now you’re going to cook supper from some of those veggies and can the others and sew all your kids’ clothes from scratch. Guess what. That means that you have more time than I do. Lots more. I can barely get chicken nuggets and instant mashed potatoes on the supper table.” I’ve started avoiding mom blogs all together because I only become bitter about not being able to follow through on most of the advice that they offer.
But when I start thinking like this, I have to back up and take a look at my heart. Above all else, I am a CHRISTIAN. Forget my duties as woman, wife, mom, receptionist, youth worker or anything else I do. I am a Christian. And as a Christian, I should strive to be Christ-like. And that little tirade above isn’t very Christ-like.
“And the second [Greatest Commandment] is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Matthew 22:38
That was Jesus himself there. And he didn’t say, “Love your best friend as yourself.” In fact, Jesus didn’t say to just love your Sunday School class members, church members, fellow Christians, nice people, or even just tolerable people. He said to love your neighbor, whoever that may be. That means that you have to love the atheist mom in PTA, that all-organic mom that gets in your way at the grocery store, the little old lady who looks down her nose at you because your kid just dumped your pocket book out at the bank, and even that mom at church who may be entirely sure that you aren’t doing what God has intended because you work outside of the home.
Paul elaborates on the Second Greatest Commandment in this passage in Ephesians. Keep in mind that most of the Ephesians weren’t Jews. Paul was writing to people just like you and me who had no ethnic entitlement to the Kingdom of Heaven. He was encouraging them in the faith by letting them know that they were just as worthy of the Gospel as anyone else and by trying to help them stay on track.
Paul says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.” The Greek word that Paul originally used for “unwholesome” was sapros, which means “rotten.” Rotten like that potato I found in the back of the pantry. You know what that thing was good for? Burning a few nose hairs, maybe, but besides that, nothing. I threw it out. And in throwing it out, I also had to keep it out of reach of a curious toddler who would probably have hidden it again only to let it get even nastier. Rotten potatoes cause more problems for me than just being stinky, just like rotten words do. So often, rotten words get hidden down deep in someone’s heart only to become nastier and nastier–and rotten words are a lot harder to throw out than a rotten potato.
Doesn’t that look like the face of a trash-raiding, tater-hider?
So don’t let anything rotten come out of your mouth, but say only things that are helpful to people according to their needs. How many times were we told when we were kids to think before we speak? Yeah, I’m telling you (and me) again. The fact of the matter is that we don’t know what all is going on in our neighbors’ lives. We think we know about their lives because of social media. We think we know that Susie May is training for a marathon while having a spotless house and having kids who are reading by age 2. But in reality, Susie May has a filthy house because she’s devoting time to training for that marathon and only spot cleans her couch before she takes a picture of her 2-year-old looking at a book upside down. And training for that marathon may be her therapy at the end of a long day of wiping noses and hineys and keeping her daughter from eating dust bunnies. (My therapy is eating a whole bag of M&Ms but that’s another thing.) So while it is easy to judge, and think badly, and even speak bitterly of someone who seems to have her life together, that person may not really have it all together. Instead of going on a rampage like I did in my own mind, just say, “Susie May, you’re doing a good job, honey,” and leave it at that. And as always, if you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.
Paul goes on to say in verse 31, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Included in “every form of malice” is (in women’s terms) brooding, backbiting, cat-fighting, gossiping, and posting passive-aggressive messages on Facebook. Just don’t do it. Don’t throw those rotten potatoes at other women. Be compassionate to each other. Help each other out. And when someone thinks that your life is better than hers and chunks a rotten potato at you, forgive her. Just as Christ forgave you. We all know it’s hard to forgive and sometimes impossible to forget; forgive anyway and try your best to forget. Because, honey, we all know you have better things to do than hoarding rotten potatoes!
About the Author
Hi! I’m Evan Bryant. I am a wife to Dave, mommy to Josiah, full-time
receptionist, fill-in dental assistant, middle school youth leader and lover of my sewing machine. I grew up on a tiny farm in Possum Kingdom, South Carolina and have never lived more than 25 minutes away from there (that was while I was in college at Erskine, by the way). Just recently I’ve developed a heart for other working moms who are just struggling to make it day to day in this world that seems to demand more and more from them. I hope to be able to work out some struggles of my own as I study and then write words of encouragement and truth for other ladies in my shoes. I also want to give a special shout out to my editor who is also one of my best friends, Rebecca Jones. Without her, you might not have found anything I wrote cohesive
Editor’s Note: Don’t forget about our Virtual Cookie Exchange! There’s still time to get your recipe in the cookbook!
Post your favorite Christmas cookie recipe in the comments below to join the “exchange”. When you’re done baking and your house smells like Christmasy goodness, share a photo of your lovely creation on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #GLOWcookieexchange, and tag three friends inviting them to join (be sure to link them back to this post)! If you don’t get a chance to bake your cookies, that’s okay! Just post your recipe and share our Cookie exchange graphic below and tag some friends. (You can share you recipes on this post OR on the original post)
Also, don’t forget to download your FREE printable recipe cards designed by Sharayah Colter, author of Clean Your Plate cookbook!
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD
For more details and information, click on the original post here.
Happy Friday! See you back on Monday…Christmas is just 6 days away!