I hate it when people tell me, “I told you so.” I remember as a kid I would get hopping mad when this phrase would come out. I don’t think I fully understood why this phrase would make me so angry back then. Now as an adult I understand some of the emotions behind this phrase.
You warn your child not to touch a hot iron, and of course they do. Out comes the phrase, “I told you so” as you are running a little hand under cold water, assessing if your day will include a run to the doctor. Fear of harm for your child, anger that you were not listened to, disappointment that the bad thing happened as you predicted, and well, pride that you were right.
I hated this phrase so much as a child that I made a conscious effort not to say this with my children and husband. Even though this is a phrase I try not to utter, my family will tell you I say it with my face. They call it the smug face.
It is a bit of a joke in my house, but the smug face had the same impact on my kids as the words did on me as a child. Even though I made a conscious effort not to use the words, “I told you so,” the attitude and emotions behind the words still came out.
What a contrast to Jesus, who also uttered the words, “I told you so.”
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
In this chapter, Jesus is having a close moment with His disciples, and He is talking to them about things that are going to happen. They are confused and at times sad during this conversation. They are like children who can’t see all that is coming. But here is the difference between my smug face and Jesus’ “I told you so:” Jesus uses the phrase before the events. The smug face comes out after the events.
Jesus is not using this phrase out of the emotions of disappointment at not being obeyed. Nor is He speaking out of pride that He is right. He tells His disciples so that they may have peace.
When have I ever used the words, “I told you so” to give peace?
Jesus knew I would face trouble. He knew that in our lives we would face sickness, financial issues, government unrest, even death. But He told me so I could have peace. The troubles I face are connected to this world, and, until I reach heaven, I will face trouble. I have been dwelling on John 16 for weeks now, as we are all trying to navigate the COVID19 world. It seems every day there is some new change or disaster. There is so much information, but what is true and what is false? I am like the disciples that night, confused and wondering what is going on. That’s when I choose to remember this virus and the various responses we are undertaking are all known to Jesus. He knew this day, He could understand my pain and fear. He knew and He told me so. In His Service, Bonnie