Two women were talking in the other room, but they didn’t know I could hear them. Actually, they must not have realized I was there. I wasn’t intentionally eaves-dropping. Really, I wasn’t. But, their voices were loud enough for anyone close by to hear.
Tingles ran up my spine as I heard their words. Their tones were harsh and their words were condemning regarding a certain person. A person we all knew. Who wasn’t there to defend himself. My blood began to boil as I stood there and realized I stumbled upon a good, old fashioned gossip fest.
My first reaction was to barge in, break up the party, and tell them how I felt about their words. And, of course to point out their error and how their words were contrast to their faith they profess.
But, before I could, something stopped me. Something caused me to pause. Other words came into my mind, words that weren’t from me…
“Do you suppose you ever sound like this?”
Me? Well, no. I would never sound like that. I don’t do what they’re doing.
It took a split-second for God to remind me of words I spoke about someone not that long ago. In that moment, my heart turned heavy as I realized I had no room to judge these from whom I heard the negativity and the gossip.
Father God, I am so sorry. Yes, I’ve sounded like this. Please forgive me for talking about someone behind his/her back. Help me to change my ways.
I turned around and walked away.
Do our words build up or tear down?
What have we said in recent conversations? Do our words lift, encourage, and build up? Or, have they condemned, accused, and judged? Have we talked about others negatively behind their backs? Or, have we been known to stop the gossip before it becomes a tangled web of unkind words?
Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29 VOICE
Fresh words that build others up. Good words that communicate grace. I want my words–all my words–to be like that. I desire to honor God with each and every word that escapes from my mouth. Yes, that’s a tall order. But, after all, God tells me I will be held accountable for every careless word I speak. Yikes!
Yet, I fail. I know better, and I imagine you do, too. But, sometimes rotten words seep out of our mouths! Sometimes before we even realize it. (I imagine that’s what happened with the two women above.) Sometimes we just get caught up in the moment of gossip and negativity, and before we know it, we’re knee-deep in it.
So, what do we do? How do we only speak words that build up?
We can take notice. Let’s pay attention to the words we speak. Are they kind, encouraging words, or are they more negative and discouraging? Sometimes we don’t even realize what we are saying until we stop to take notice.
We can ask for help. We can ask God to help change our words. To remind us of this verse (and others) above. And, to stop us before we engage in a negative conversation about others.
We can ponder scripture. I did a search on “bible verses about gossip,” and I was surprised at the many scriptures that popped up. Writing a few down and memorizing them might also help us voice words that only build up.
We can practice. Just like anything else, we may need to build a new habit by practicing. If we became intentional about voicing uplifting, encouraging words as we went about our days, a new habit would form. We may just become some of the most positive, happy people on the planet!
Friend, certainly our words are powerful. I pray we each can use them today to build up and not tear down. To uplift and not to destroy. To encourage and not to discourage. With God’s help, we can!
Friend, how are you doing in this area? What helps you speak kind words that build up? I’d love to read your thoughts below!
Linking this post with Holley for Coffee For Your Heart.
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I do both but really hate tearing down. When I own a Laundromat there are times I have to be mean and I hate myself for it. But when I deal with difficult customers I have no choice. How can I do this in a more positive way that they will understand and that I will feel better. Thanks Julie
Hi Paula! Thanks for stopping by. I can’t imagine your words ever tearing down. Sometimes we do have to deal with difficult people, and even though we don’t love the behavior, we can choose to still love the person. (It’s so hard sometimes, isn’t it?!) When confronting difficult people, I have learned to rely on God’s words and not my own. I ask Him to give me the words I need to say. His words are so much better than mine. I tend to mess things up on my own. Each situation is probably different for you, but He knows it all. Your heart’s in the right place and that’s the best place to begin. Bless you, friend.