Have you ever walked past someone having a toxic conversation and immediately felt a change in your own attitude? Words have a powerful impact on our spirit, even when they aren’t directed at us.
As followers of Christ we need to recognize the impact we have on others with our words as well as our actions. The power of life and death are in the tongue. ( Proverbs 18:21)
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Colossians 4:6 NKJV)
The Bible talks extensively about speech. What an amazing communication tool God has given us. And yet, James chapter 3 talks about the difficulty of “taming the tongue.” How often do we use our words to bless God while cursing those He created? Cursing in this sense isn’t about profanity. It’s about using words that damage someone’s heart or break their spirit.
I encourage you today to make a conscious effort to “guard” your tongue. Use your words to speak life over people, rather than death. Pay attention to your conversations. Are they toxic or are they gracious and attractive? Even words of correction can be gracious.
Three important points on correction:
- Admonish in private. Never embarrass someone by confronting them in public. If you have tried to work something out (with another Christian) in private to no avail the Bible gives a plan of action to move forward in Matthew 18:15-17.
- Differentiate between behaviors and character. Don’t attack the person. Address the behavior. Avoid demeaning statements like: “You always …” or “You are …”
- Last but not least, sandwich correction between positive affirmations. Start and end on a positive note. I’m not referring to vain flattery here. What positive attributes can you genuinely acknowledge regarding this individual?
Pay attention to your everyday conversations. If you constantly catch yourself being negative or complaining get alone with God and begin to ask Him to reveal your heart. What are you feeding your spirit? How much time are you spending in front of the television and what kind of shows are you watching? What kind of music are you listening to? What type of people are you hanging out with? Transformation happens from the inside out, but our spiritual health is impacted by what we “feed” our spirit just as our physical health is often determined by what we feed our body.
PRAY: Lord, thank You for the gift of speech. Help me to guard my tongue and use it to praise You and to bless others. Forgive me for the times I have allowed my words to be used for evil. Help me to focus on the blessings in my life instead of complaining. Help me to lift others up instead of tearing them down. Change my perspective by giving me the mind of Christ. AMEN.