We all do it at one time or other. Some of us more than others.
We open our mouths and out pour words that hurt, malign, or tear down. Sometimes we are being sarcastic and mean, other times we just talk without thinking. Very occasionally, we are telling a hurtful hard truth and it needs to be said. But negative words to others or about others often spew from our mouths like water from a spring.
But have you ever noticed that, while we are so free to speak about the stuff we don’t like to someone or about others, we rarely speak what we do like? Have you ever been somewhere and had thoughts like this, “Oh, I really like her new haircut,” or, “He looks like he is losing weight”? Or have you ever been to a soccer game and thought, “Wow, my friend’s son has really improved his game”? Or maybe you’ve been in church and really enjoyed a special piece by the vocalist or the preacher’s message. Do you take the time to tell them?
Really, you should try it. It’s a great ice breaker and conversation starter. It’s also a wonderful way to encourage and build up others.
Speaking positively about others is also a great way to be an incredible testimony. Have you noticed that when the gang is around the water cooler at work, they are rarely saying nice things about others? Usually they are boss-bashing or gossiping about co-workers. You can stop the whole gossip train by inserting kind words– “The boss isn’t usually like that, maybe something’s wrong,” or “Didn’t she help you with that report last week, Jim?” By refusing to participate in the negative talk that surrounds you, you show almost instantly that there is something very different about you.
Words have such power to build up or break down. It is our natural human tendency (or perhaps I should say sinful nature) to use this power negatively. Even many Christians seem to see this as something less than sin and freely give their hurtful opinions at all times and in all moments. They complain about their husbands and children to others. They make sarcastic remarks to their families. They always feel like it is their personal duty to tell you how you are doing things the wrong way. Many times, they are part of the gossip huddle in the office or at church. You know the ones.
But, as Christians, we should be known for building up with our words. Sure, sometimes –on a very rare occasion– we do need to confront (with truth and much grace)– but most of our negative words just don’t need to be said.
So I have an assignment for you this week–
Say something nice to someone or say something nice about someone to someone else. Do this every day for a whole week.
Perhaps this will help all of us to start developing the habit of speaking kindly to and about one another and move us out of that natural bent towards the negative. Will anyone join me in this assignment?
If you do join the assignment, would you consider coming back here to share your experience by commenting? Or join us at Growing4Life on Facebook to share your stories and thoughts! I will try to share my own experience there each day of this week. Your participation and comments would be very encouraging to me! Thanks so much!