“I say it how it is”,
“I’ll tell him or her about themselves”.
These are statements that some of us may take pride in making, believing that this form of ‘honesty’ is a good thing – actually, it can be extremely ineffective.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
I appreciate that you desire to be ‘honest’, and want to address an issue that you may have observed concerning your neighbour, however it is important for us to consider a few things before we speak;
- Their emotions – how will they feel after you say it, in the way you want to say it?
- Is it your place? Is it appropriate for the comment/critique/statement to come from you in particular? (Think of your relationship with this person – will it be better if someone else addresses it?)
- Will it benefit them? Will it help them to change something negative into positive? Or will it simply just be something you point out (possibly spitefully) and then it’s just left in the air?
- Are you able to be constructive in providing a suggestion of how they could improve or change the habit/behaviour/attitude/issue (if applicable)?
- What is the best way to say this thing, in order for the individual to receive it in love and desire to act/reflect on what you have said?
We must learn to differentiate between when we are doing something for ourselves and when it is truly for the benefit of others and the glory of God.
Yes, we have the responsibility as the body of Christ to point things out and correct one another, however the bible tells us to speak the truth in Love! – Ephesians 4:15.
This means your comment/correction should not come with the intention to put someone down, but rather to help better them and contribute to their upliftment.
Along with the notion of, “It’s best for them to know”, we also commonly justify an impolite or insensitive comment with the fact that the truth will set us free.
However when Jesus said this in John 8:31-32, He was referring to the truth which lies in His word and in His teachings.
Therefore this verse does not justify you telling someone their dress is hideous, or their hair smells, because firstly, Jesus does not teach this – (He teaches us to Walk in Love); and secondly, many things we consider as ‘true’ are simply just our own opinions – therefore subjective.
When we just speak – we end up saying far more than we need to. But when we think first of the implications of our speech, revise what we are going to say and most importantly ask the Holy Spirit for direction before we speak, we will find that our words will indeed build up our brothers and sisters as the verse above advises us to.
“The tongue has the power of death and life, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
I believe this verse, in the most simple way, reminds us of the fact that the words we speak (whether into our own lives or into the lives of others) have the ability to produce completely opposite outcomes, depending on what we choose to say.
I pray each of us will choose words that bring life; into our relationships, finances, jobs, schools, and our entire lives.
Take that into this new week; ‘I choose to speak Life!’
Have a read of these verses, and let us use them as a foundation to ensure we know why we should endeavour keep our words as pure, positive and gracious as possible.
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,”
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you