Miss Sarabell Simmons always told the unvarnished truth. She often started her sentences with, “now I’m speaking the truth in love…” The nicest thing you could say about her was that she was honest as the day was long. Some people thought the day was getting a mite too long though, and a couple of ladies from the Sunday school committee decided to speak to the Pastor about the problem.
“Now, Brother Amos,” began Mrs. Winston, “we know that Sister Sarabell is a tireless pillar of the church, what with her not having any family to speak of and all, but she’s starting to scare off the new members.” Just that past Sunday, she had told a couple down from Baltimore that building a house down by the river was “all very well for those with more dollars than sense.”
“That’s right,” echoed Mrs. Green, “why, last choir rehearsal she just happened by and do you know what she told that new soprano from Richmond? She said, ‘Honey, that caterwauling may be fine in the big city, but over here we like the voices to blend together.’ You know that kind of talk is what kept her from ever snagging a husband.”
The catalog of offenses went on until the Pastor finally cut in. “Yes, ladies, the Good Book says ‘gracious words are a honeycomb.’ It also says ‘if your brother sins against you, go and confront him privately…’ Now, what did Sister Sarabell do when you spoke to her about the problem?”
The two woman stared, open-mouthed. “Why… well, Brother Amos,” Mrs. Winston stammered, “we never… why, what on earth do you mean? We just, we just prayed on it, and we came straight to you.”
“I could never bring myself to speak an unkind word,” said Mrs. Green.
“Well then,” said the Pastor, “I will join you in your prayers for Sister Sarabell, and we shall leave the matter in the hands of God.”