True story, a woman is sitting in church and when the service is over, she stands up and turns to leave. A woman says to her, “you have beautiful hair”. The first women said, “thank you”. The second women continued, “my name is Gertrude and I sit behind you each week. I noticed you twirl your hair.” The first women looked at her puzzled, and Gertrude continues, “you don’t need to do that.” The women slightly embarrassed replies, “must be a nervous habit”. Gertrude repeats, “you don’t need to do that,” shaking her head in a disapproving manner.
Why is it that we feel the need to share our unsolicited opinions with others? First, what was the purpose of Gertrude sharing her opinion? Was the hair twirling annoying Gertrude? Why were her eyes on the person in front of her instead of the preacher? Why did Gertrude just not move to another seat if she was so annoyed? Why must she say something so ridiculous to a sister in the faith? That poor woman who twirled her hair said to me, “what if I had been a visitor or someone just coming to know Christ? What kind of witness would that have been?” She was thinking of when Jesus says in Matthew 9:12, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Verse 13a says, “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” We are called to be a good witness to those who don’t yet know our Savior.
However, my mind went to Luke 11:17, where Jesus says, “any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.”
Sisters in Christ, we are dividing ourselves over the silliest of things. It is not over doctrine or theology, instead our pettiness, rudeness, and unsolicited opinions supersede our kindness. I am not saying to be fake and superficially nice. Instead, I am asking all of us, myself included, to think before we speak. The old saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” might be something we all consider this Sunday when the sister in front of us is twirling her hair.