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Farabee column: A good talking to

By Ann Farabee
For the Salisbury Post

A good talking to?

The sixth-grader was cornered. The parent-teacher conference had reached its conclusion, and truth had come out. He had been quite slack at school — and his grades were proving it. As they were leaving, his dad said, “He will be getting a good talking to when we get home.”

I have thought those words.

I have heard those words. 

I have said those words.

A ‘good talking to’ is an idiom that means a stern lecture or scolding.

An example is when I was a teenager, and my mother would say, “Get that chip off your shoulder.” I knew there was no actual need to look on my shoulder for a chip, but I got her point.

Sometimes, we may have to give ourselves a good talking to if:

• Our joy has not felt joyful.

1 Peter 1:8 says that though we have not seen him, we love him. We believe in him. We rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.  

Our joy is inexpressible and glorious. Joy is the kind of happiness that does not depend on what happens. 

• Our compassion has not felt compassionate.

Matthew 14:14 says that Jesus went forth, saw a great multitude, and moved with compassion toward them. Jesus went. Jesus saw. Jesus moved. How? With compassion. Where? Toward them.

 We go. We see the multitude. We need to move — with compassion — toward them. Compassion is passion with a heart. It is about giving all you’ve got.

• Our words have not been sweet.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 says to let our words be few. Proverbs 16:24 says that pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to our soul, and health to our bones. 

Words can encourage. Words can destroy. Choose them carefully. Talk less. Use pleasant words when we do.

• Our labor has become laborious.

Ecclesiastes 5:18 says that it is good and pleasant for us to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all our labor. Verse 19 says we are to rejoice in our labor. It is a gift from God.

Enjoy our labor. Rejoice in it. It is a gift.

The ‘good talking to’ between the dad and his son may — or may not — have brought great results. My mother’s warning about the chip on my shoulder may — or may not — have brought great results. But, being talked to from God’s word always brings great results.

Ready for action?

Write this down:

Have joy.

Have compassion.

Use sweet words.

Rejoice in labor.

Let’s carry it with us as a reminder.

We never know when we may need to give ourselves a good talking to. 

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