Most readers are probably familiar with the 17th century French philosopher Rene Descartes’ statement: “I think: therefore I am.” I’m not sure exactly what it means, but most people think it is profound. Not too long ago I was reminded of a lesson about thinking that reminded me of Descartes’ words.

What got my attention was the report from a friend that something I had said to another friend was offensive. And it troubled me because the person I offended has done a lot for me and is someone I greatly respect. The sad part is that I was trying to be funny, but was oblivious to the fact that my words had landed with a thud.

Since then I’ve been wondering about all the people I have spoken to through the years who may have been hurt by what I said and I didn’t even know it. And my sense is that most of the time when it happened I was trying to be funny.

My friend who shared with me how my words had hurt our mutual friend challenged me to do better in the future by thinking about what I say. Borrowing from and adding to Descartes words, I want to suggest a lesson we all need to keep in mind and practice: “You think, therefore you are—therefore think about what you say—before you say it.”

And there are two additional important lessons for me not prompted by Descartes: don’t always try to be funny, and remember teasing is not always appropriate.

If the question is “What was I thinking?”, too often in my life the answer has been “I wasn’t thinking.” In the future I plan and hope to do more thinking about what I say– and before I say it.

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12 thoughts on “WHAT WAS I THINKING?

  1. Pastor Bob you must be speaking to me, since I have the same issue. I really don’t try to remember how may people I might have offended by being funny, it makes my stomach ache. I was made aware of the my ” being funny” a few years ago and been working on it ever since. Sometimes I do better than others, depends on my surroundings I REALLY think before I open my mouth. I am blessed with a great circle of family,friends and co-workers who get my sense of humor.
    However, to all the people I did offend over the years, I am so sorry but I was not thinking!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bob, It’s somerhing we have all done. I agree that most times it is trying to be funny that is the culprit behind our misdeeds. Words can truly hurt, although sometimes silence speaks just as loudly. It can be a fine line. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Bob, I really enjoy the thoughts you blog, and it helps all of us look inward, to see where we can improve our lives. Self examination is always a good thing periodically, in all areas of our lives. I know when I have offended someone by what was intended to be comical, it gives me an opportunity to practice my apologies. And in a strange sort of way, it can cement a friendship because the other person knew i went out of my way to make it right between us. Usually that is very much appreciated, and recognized as an effort made to reconcile, when it might have been left to fester. Great topic, and well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks Bob. Your words ring true to me as well. I don’t think I try to be funny, but truthfully don’t realize when I’ve crossed a boundary. Relationships are funny…. Some take a lot longer to gain the familiarity that allows words to flow freely so they aren’t taken offensively. Good thing the mutual acquaintance was willing to come forward with the info so you could be aware and try to make amends.

    Liked by 1 person

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