Don’t Like Soap

Family Matters— Don’t Like Soap—30 SEP

I grew up back in the day when moms used soap not only for washing hands, but for washing out mouths too, when words came out that shouldn’t be there.  And that was when it ‘t just a little squirt of the softer soap, but a big ol’ bar of soap to make sure some got caught in the teeth for long-lasting flavor.  It only took me once to find out both that the mama wasn’t kidding, and that I did NOT like the taste of soap!

I was in about the second grade, and heard what I thought were pretty cool and useful words at school that I never heard at home, and the mama always talked about how important it is to learn new things and grow my vocabulary, so I figured I might as well give them a try.  We had a small aluminum fishing boat at the time that miraculously held our family of six without capsizing back “when we were little,” thought I.  At the time, it was one of my favorite play caves, resting upside down on blocks behind the house.  Nobody could SEE me in my little cave, so I thought it a good place to practice my new vocabulary with my GI Joes

I found though, that the more practiced I was with my new vocabulary in my cave, the more likely it was to come out with my sibling where the mama might hear.  You just might be able to guess what happened soon thereafter, and why I can say with a certainty that I do NOT like the taste of soap…

The memory verse for October makes me wonder if whomever wrote the Proverbs had a mama like mine, and also found out the taste of soap was not to his liking: “People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be found out.” (Prov. 10: 9)  Interesting to note, too, that the original Old Testament Hebrew words here translated as “crooked paths” and “found out” sound very similar to “bad words” and “soap” (not that I ever got good grades in Hebrew class).

It’s always a good idea to remember that “Santa Claus is watching you,” that teachers have eyes in the back of their heads, that moms see even more than teachers, and that all of them are secret agents of God who sees all, even in our own private little caves.  Our “crooked paths” may not get us caught right away, but integrity always wins the day.  And integrity is obviously a really cool thing, because “integrity” is one of the Army’s foundational, core values, one of the most important of things for all Soldiers.

The official Army definition of integrity is so simple, too, that even a second grader (or a Soldier) can understand:  integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.  And it might be important to know that sometimes what happens when “getting caught” doing the wrong thing, is a whole lot worse than finding out how much you don’t like the taste of soap.

Do right. Do good. That’s the Jesus way.  And integrity tastes much better than soap.

Rev. Jim

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