Posted along waterways around Dauphin Island and Bayou La Batre are signs proclaiming – “No Wake Zone”. They are posted when the waterway comes close to shore where boat docks, marinas, beaches, and fishing piers are located. Watercraft traveling at too great a speed create a ‘wake’ or sizable waves that can damage boats and moorings along the shore. The No Wake Zone signs serve as a reminder to be respectful of others.
Like speeding boaters, we sometimes rush into people’s lives to give advice or opinions. The impact of rash intrusions can be very damaging. A quotation from the English poet Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism, seems appropriate here: “Fools rush in where angles fear to tread”. We need to be sure when we invade someone else’s life space it is with the true intention to help or encourage. It should never be to prove our point or to ‘straighten someone out’. Stephen Covey, noted businessman and author says, “ Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply”.
Scripture speaks to this issue in several places. Here are just a couple:
- Proverbs 15:1-2 (ESV): “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, the mouth of fools pour out folly.”
- James 1:19 (ESV): “Know this, my beloved brothers, let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
The beautiful prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, when put into practice, will help us respect the No Wake Zone in other people’s lives:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
~ Brother Roy