Man with his face in his hands suggesting remorse

One of the stupidest things I ever said

It was on my first job, I was sixteen, and of course knew everything and often felt things much more deeply and took things far more personally than the more mature me would recognize as appropriate and reasonable. I worked hard and was proud of how quickly I had gained a good reputation from my colleagues and managers. That all changed immediately after I was tasked to train a new person on one of the more technical aspects of the job. That person was left on their own after I gave them some instructions, and I got busy doing something else. To summarize it, they did it wrong and it cost the company a fair amount of money, and I got written up for it.

I lost my temper and quit immediately, rashly, carelessly, and thoughtlessly. When the store manager approached me, I said one of the most awful, horrible things I can ever imagine saying to someone. It was such a heinous thing to say. I regret few things more than forming those three words:

“Go to hell!”

I caused a scene, an ugly, regrettable scene. I was angry and felt I had suffered some kind of wrong.

How lamentably foolish! Looking back on that situation it was my responsibility to check my coworker’s work. I did not. I can also see I should have been grateful it was only a write-up. The company lost way more than my slightly greater than minimum wage was because of my mistake, and I had other skills besides that were valuable to the company they would now need to train someone else to do.

My behavior aside though, as obscene as it was, it was really the words I used and the meaning they conveyed, I would come to regret the most. That demand…I really don’t have words to describe the awfulness of it. Had I been convinced of the reality of hell, the unimaginable horrors of hell, I never would have said such an appalling thing to another person. I wish with all I have I could take it back. Years later, I tried to track down the store manager a few times so I could apologize but it seems it’s too late for that.

James writes, “the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell” (3:6, ESV). I know that as a blood-bought, redeemed sinner, Jesus has paid for that sin, as He has for all my sin, even those I am unmindful of even committing, but I regret ever saying it and anything else that would possibly ever hurt someone else. Words are powerful. With them we can encourage, bless and defend. With them, we can also curse, abuse, humiliate, and demean.

So, be careful with the words you use especially during times where there is a greater likelihood of a strong emotional response. If you have said something you now regret, do not wait to make it right.

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