“Trusting someone to speak kindly when you are not present means trustworthiness in many more countless ways.”
From Listen, by Rene Gutteridge
I have trust issues. I was raised in a loving, intact, mostly-functional home. I’ve not suffered from neglect or abandonment. I have experienced the petty betrayals that come with being human, but nothing too traumatic in hindsight. No, my issues have nothing to do with such scarring events. They have everything to do with you.
I hear the words you speak of others when they are not present. I see in your expressions and body language the emotions beyond the words. I see the measure by which you judge the world, and I know that I too will be judged by that same measure. I don’t trust you.
The unvarnished truth is that I am guilty as well. All too often I allow unfiltered words to spill from my lips and in the doing, I prove myself to be untrustworthy too. As children of the Most High this should not be! What are we to do?
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29, NLT)
If I may be transparent here, I must admit that this is something I have been struggling with lately. I don’t like the words that are coming from my lips. I have come up with a few things that I am now asking myself when I am in conversation and I’d like to share them with you.
Prayer requests: We are instructed to bear one another’s burdens and to bring others to our Lord in prayer. Unfortunately, this all too often breeds gossip cloaked in Christianese. A friend of mine, a pastor’s kid, hated growing up under the watchful eye of his church’s prayer chain. He calls it the gossip chain. How are we to walk this line?
I think that, simply put, it comes down to one question. Am I sharing details that will uncover someone else’s sin, insecurity or embarrassment? If the answer is yes, then fewer details are in order. God knows the situation—you don’t need to in order to lift someone up in prayer.
Casual conversation: I’m sure you’ve heard it said before but I think it bears repeating. Don’t say anything about another that you would not say if they were standing there beside you. Enough said.
My Mama Said: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. I’d like to take that a step further and Golden Rule it a bit. Speak about others how you would want them to speak of you.
This applies in casual conversation, of course, but I also challenge you to apply it to your spouse and your children. It is easy to forget to temper our speech with those we are closest to.
Our Creator spoke all things into existence. The Bible is plumb full of advice about taming our tongues and the power of our words. What we say has consequences.
Jesus himself said, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” (Matthew 12:34b-35, NIV)
Listen. Hear the words you speak and you will know. What is your heart full of?