Four letter word

Many years ago, my five-year-old sister was playing with a handheld electronic hangman game. She would put a word in and then ask one of us to guess the word. She handed the game to my dad and asked him to guess the four letter word.

Dad said “I’ll need a hint” and without missing a beat she replied “its what you say when things go wrong.”

Mom and Dad exchanged looks of horror…imagining a few four letter words that could fit that clue. Just what exactly was she learning in school???


The truth is what my parents did was natural but God asks us to slow down to listen, think, and take our time in responding to the words and actions of others.


My dad could have guessed, but he was only thinking of the obvious four letter words that most people use when things go wrong. He waited a bit and then gave up so she would tell him her word.

Likewise, we should use patience and time to respond to peoples words and actions because we could be wrong. We don’t always have all the four letter answers. In addition, we allow time for the holy spirit to guide our answers when we slow down and keep our tongue quiet a few more moments.

James 1:19  Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. NLT

The four letter word you say when things go wrong is (according to a five year old) “OHNO”. No jumping to conclusions and no soap in the mouth today.

I hope you are blessed today and that you are a blessing to others.

Heidi Cleaveland

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