I was frozen to the spot. The class was already quiet but now a deathly-eerie tangible silence descended on the room. I felt all 30 pairs of eyes bore into me. I was annoyed at the untimely interruption and I am proud of my track record of never-ever using an expletive in several years, especially in front of my daughter.

I turned to her and asked in a sickly-sticky-sweet voice, "When have I ever used the `F-word'?"

"You do, Mum--when you're driving." I was taken aback by the sudden nausea. My hands were clammy, my tongue was twice its usual size and I was struggling to speak. In the meantime, no-one else had moved a muscle. My mind was racing to find an incident when I had done so but came up blank. Finally, I asked her, "What did I say, exactly?" She squirmed and avoided my eyes. "I can't say the words--I might get into trouble." I assured her that if she repeated the words I had said, she would not get in trouble. Her reluctance to utter the words was obvious. "OK, Mummy, you said `idiot' and `stupid.'" There was a collective exhale, then deafening laughter as the students who were spellbound seconds ago became animated, laughing among themselves. I explained to the students that my daughter had the idea that any mean word was an "F-word." You know what? She is absolutely right!

"You have heard that the law of Moses says, `Do not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.' But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell." Matthew 5:21, 22. Angie Gibson teaches Bible at Auckland Seventh-day Adventist High School in Auckland, New Zealand.


This story is used with permission from Signs Publishing Company. More of these stories can be found in these collections: Ordinary People—Extraordinary God, Ordinary People—Faithful God, and Ordinary People—Generous God