What Our Words Reveal About Our Character

I sat down in the airport next to an empty seat. A man was on the phone on the other side of the empty set talking rather crudely about someone. “She’s a $&$%^R b(^U%($” and more rather crude and rude statements about someone he knew. He kept making derogatory statements about a woman and said multiple times. “What can you say about a woman?” Suddenly he said, “I have to go she’s coming out of the rest room,” and proceeded to hang up the phone.

A woman came and sat in the empty seat and started talking to him. His tone had changed and now he was respectful, polite, even sweet. A colleague of his came up and he started talking to him. They ignored the woman and talked as if she didn’t exist. Suddenly she spoke up and asked why she had not been introduced to the colleague. The man proceeded to introduce her to the colleague as his fiancé. I was shocked! THAT’s how he talks about someone he loves? My guess is that she had no idea how he spoke about her when she wasn’t around.

I found myself in a new moral dilemma. How do I tell a stranger that her fiancé had nothing but profanity and curse words to say about here while she was in the bathroom? There was no way I could intervene and be believed. She was about to spend the rest of her life with a man who had nothing nice to say about her when she wasn’t around.

I spent the rest of the trip hoping to hear as little as possible from the man as he had already told me everything I needed to know about himself. I was reminded that our character is revealed when we think no one is listening or looking. I was reminded of the power of words and that people are not always what we think they are, until they open their mouths and remove all doubt. I prayed this was a once time thing and yet knew deep in my heart that no one talks that way on a lark. His words had identified him as a man without character.

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