Be Careful

“Be Careful . . . ”

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” (Proverbs 4:23)

“Beware the Ides of March,” warns the soothsayer in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.”  Tradition has it that the soothsayer had warned Julius Caesar, the Roman Emperor, that something terrible would happen to him by the Ides of March (today, March 15th).  As Julius Caesar was on his way to the Roman Senate he passed by the soothsayer and taunted him by saying something like, “Well, the Ides are here.”  The soothsayer is said to have responded, “But not yet over!”  I wonder if the words were ringing in Caesar’s ears as Brutus and the other senators plunged their knives into him a few moments later!

I took this photo last Saturday as the moon was rising.  With the clouds wafting over it just seemed a little ominous.  With today being the Ides of March, it made me wonder about  the times I’ve heard, “Be careful . . . “

The older I get the more I think I’m aware of some of the ways I’m like my father.  He was one who often said (or at least it seemed pretty often to me), “Be careful . . . ”  For years I think I learned to sort of emotionally duck, let it roll off my back, and simply audibly respond, “Okay.”  To myself I would respond more like, “Not again, I’ve got this dad.”  Sometimes it was even, “Quit annoying me.”  Now, that’s not to say I didn’t heed most of the warnings, I just felt like there were way too many of them.

Now the roles have changed and I’m the father, hearing myself saying probably far too many times, “Be careful . . . ”  I have many holes in my tongue from the number of times I’ve bit a hole in it in order to keep from saying, “be careful,” even more times.  It’s not that I don’t respect the ability of those I love to be able to handle themselves.  I just care so much that I spend time running ahead of their situations to assess the dangers and warn of the potential threats. Sometimes I say, “Be careful . . .”, because I’m warning them not to make the mistakes I’ve already made.  Thankfully, this role change to fatherhood also helped me better appreciate my father’s warnings that I received all the way up until his passing.  “Be careful . . .” really meant, “I love you.”

Let’s face it, it’s easy for all of us to become too self-confident and sloppy with our thinking and behaving.  Sometimes we think it’s okay to stray from Jesus’s new commandment to love like him, and instead, allow ourselves a little time to dabble in unholy thinking.  Maybe a little greed, racism, lust, or hate, maybe a little judgmental thinking won’t hurt that much.  That kind of sloppiness is why we do need a warning from God from time to time. “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”(Proverbs 4:23)  Hopefully, when we hear that warning, we won’t respond like I used to when I was younger and heard what I thought were one too many of my father’s “be careful’s.”  Hopefully, we’ll recognize God’s love in the warning and heed the offering.  I pray that’s exactly what God will help me to do.  How about you?

Blessings and peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on March 15, 2017.

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