I was five years old when Daddy gave me some important advice. Actually, it was important for him before the event. Afterward I’d find out how important it was for me to listen. In the 1940s, misbehaving kids were an intolerable negative reflection upon a pastor’s image. I needed to practice what he preached, or I would die for my sins.
“Keep your best foot forward,” he said. What an awkward way to walk, with my right foot forward all the time. But I knew what he meant: If you don’t behave yourself, we’ll have a time-to-meet-Jesus session in the basement, and your bottom may be sore for a week.
I needed this special training because kids will naturally say and do whatever comes to mind. After years of schooling and work experience, I still make a practice of being open and honest, but I’ve found wisdom in sometimes keeping my mouth shut.
Much of what we’re thinking, we dare not say. This reality became hilariously funny in the movie What Women Want when Mel Gibson miraculously heard what women were thinking but not saying.
The term subtext refers to the unspoken meaning behind what we say. We use it all the time, even with a spouse or best friend. Especially with a spouse or best friend.
Only God loves us and understands us well enough to allow us to say everything on our minds. Like a volcano spewing fire and ash, we can release our hidden anger, resentment, and despair onto him. Why do we know it’s okay to do that? Because he already knows, and he still loves us. This may be hard, since we’ve never been allowed to do it anywhere else. But we must learn to do it if we want healing for our soul.