I do a dozen crossword puzzles a week, sometimes more. Lucas got me started on the Simon and Schuster books, which besides giving me 225 to work on, are also larger print than the newspapers. After going through 7 books in the past four years (yes, that’s 1575 of them) plus any others I can pick up anywhere else, I have become, in Nathan’s words, “A treasure trove of useless information.”
“Medieval helmet,” 5 letters: armet. What does it look like? I have no idea.
“Betel palm,” 5 letters: areca. Where do they grow? Beats me.
“Anoa’s home,” 7 letters: Celebes. Can I find the Celebes Islands on a map? No, but I know they have an ox there called an anoa!
Sometimes, though, instead of being a “crossword specialist,” I become a “cross word specialist.” That, unfortunately, is a whole lot easier. Just let someone throw me a curveball, upsetting my carefully planned schedule, and I become a real grump. No matter how many times they try to appease me, I won’t let them. I am upset and that is all I care about at the moment.
I also become cross when I hear secondhand something less than complimentary about myself. My mind starts running in circles as I mentally tell off the one who dared say such a thing, over and over, sometimes even ruining my sleep at night, which serves me right for caring so much about something that really does not matter.
Do you have your cross word specialties? Is it griping about everything? Some people really enjoy complaining. They cannot be happy if they can’t be miserable.
Is it passing on gossip? For some people that is the most exciting thing in life. They actually get a rush from it.
Is it sarcasm, open contemptuous mocking of other people’s suggestions, ideas, or even their hobbies and interests? Such scorn is disrespect, not teasing.
Is it just plain meanness toward others? I have heard things come out of Christians’ mouths that have stopped me in my tracks. I am usually so shocked I just stand there open-mouthed.
I do not like The Message. Whenever someone calls it a “translation,” I bristle, but for some things it is helpful. We read the Proverbs and they go right over our heads because of the stilted language. I don’t do those things! But listen to the following.
Mean people spread mean gossip…troublemakers start fights, and gossips break up friendships…fools openly spread slander…you love malicious gossip, you foul-mouth.
Those are the Message’s interpretations of Proverbs 16:27,28; 10:18; and Psalm 52:4. I think he has hit the nail on the head. You see, if I spread mean gossip, I am a mean person. Spreading any gossip makes me a “foul-mouth,” a description most of us save for those who use four letter words. It also makes me a fool. And I may not mean to do anything bad, but my words can ruin people’s lives.
No one wants to associate with those who constantly scoff, complain, slander, lie, or otherwise cause trouble. Not only do those things not make for peace between brethren, but they will eat at the soul of the listener. It’s like purposefully infecting yourself with a lethal virus. You will soon become that person you hate being around for very long at a time, a “cross word specialist.”
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones, Prov 16:24.
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