In my bathrooms, at home and in my office, I keep a bottle of mouthwash. Several times a day, I will rinse my mouth and savor the clean refreshing taste and hopefully prevent any embarrassing episodes with anyone I encounter.
But it was not always that way.
When I was a teenager, my father and I were having a discussion. He suddenly interrupted the dialogue and declared, “Son, your breath smells like a sewer!”
“What?” I exclaimed.
“You really need to watch it! People are going to be disgusted!”
Wow! Thanks a lot, Dad! My father was a dentist so I reluctantly concluded that he knew bad breath when he smelled it. I took his advice and began to brush my teeth after every meal. I also went one step further and used mouthwash as often as I could. After a few months, I asked my father, “Dad, is my breath better?”
He just grunted and said, “Yeah. Keep it up.”
I did. Thanks Dad!
Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Proverbs 27:5-6 (NKJV)
My father expressed his love to me in a blunt and sometimes hurtful manner. But I knew he loved me and meant it for my own good. Years later, I can look back in grateful reflection for his chastisement.
When a close friend or family member points out one of my many faults, in a loving manner, my first inclination is to bristle and pull back. But sometimes, this is how God speaks to me. After careful and prayerful reflection, more often than not, I find the chastisement is merited and I endeavour to remedy the situation. It is embarrassing and usually painful, but I am always grateful for the opportunity given to me.
Today, my breath doesn’t smell like a sewer..at least I hope it doesn’t! But if I lapse in my oral hygiene and am reminded again, I will be sure to gladly accept the admonition!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.