I must confess, I say things at times that I immediately want to retract as they are streaming from my mouth.
The world seems to move in slow motion and it’s as if I can see the words leaving my lips and slapping the recipient in the face.
Too late! It’s already out there. Whether I meant to say it or not, despite the wrongdoings that sparked my fiery tongue, words have landed and made an impression. Whether they take root or wither is accordingly to how the person process’. I am not responsible for the way my words are received. I am responsible for the delivery. Yikes!
Do you have any experience with this? I have been thinking about it quite a bit recently as it was brought to my attention that I had said something in a way that it was never intended. I apologized swiftly, analyzed it for several days, made a plan to keep it from happening again and moved on.
It wasn’t too long after that I found myself listening to a juicy bit of gossip. Before I even knew what was happening, I was participating. We women, especially, have to resist the temptation to disguise gossip as “Prayer requests” or concern in the form of, “Bless ‘er heart! Did you hear what happened to…”
What about phrases we say daily? Those weighty statements we don’t even consider? I knew you would want a few examples, so here they are…
“Are you really going to wear that?!”
“What’s you’re problem?!”
“Do your ears work?!”
“You’re driving me nuts!”
“That is the dumbest idea! It will never work!”
“You are always late.”
“That’s just the way you are. I’ve learned to work with it.”
“Have you ever come up with an original idea or do you always have to take credit for those you steal from others?”
“You don’t have a creative bone in your body!”
Several of these may seem extreme while others are written off as sarcasm. What if we took 2 seconds to think about what we were going to say before we interjected it into someone’s day?
Proverbs 18:21 says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” It’s a choice, is it not? Much like everything else that has a positive and negative side. Even if you’re not a bible-thumper, you can recognize truth when you see it.
Let’s have some fun! I have copied the negative statements above and replaced the words that wound.
“Are you really going to wear that?!” “You looked so great in that black shirt you wore the other day! Why don’t you throw on some jeans and wedges with that top?”
“You’re ridiculous!” “You are being so silly!”
“What’s you’re problem?!” “Is everything okay? Is there anything I can do for you?”
“Do your ears work?!” “Did you hear me?”
“You’re crazy!” “You’re one of a kind!”
“You’re driving me nuts!” “I need some quiet time for a few minutes.”
“That is the dumbest idea! It will never work!” “I see where you’re coming from. Maybe we can look at it another way as well? Have you thought about this?”
“You are always late.” “It’s tough getting to these early morning meetings, isn’t it? Maybe it would help to get up a few minutes earlier?”
“That’s just the way you are. I’ve learned to work with it.” “What do you think about this approach? Sometimes it’s beneficial to try something new.”
“Have you ever come up with an original idea or do you always have to take credit for those you steal from others?” “That is another great idea! How in the world did you come up with that?! Wow!”
“You don’t have a creative bone in your body!” “You are so great at organization. Maybe you could share some of your secrets for keeping all of those files straight.”
“You’re useless!” “Do you feel like your talents are being utilized in this current role? I want you to be in a position to thrive.”
(If you came up with better responses, stop laughing at mine and share yours in the comments section.)
So, here is my challenge to you and to me. For the next 7 days, before uttering a word to anyone, take 2 seconds to ask yourself, “Is it Kind?” “Is it True?” “Is it Helpful?” If the answer is not a resounding “YES!” to all of these, don’t say it.
Do you think you can do it? I hope I can!
(Images courtesy of google)