My most frequent regret

1 Peter 3:8-10 NIV

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.”

Probably my most frequent regret would be over something I have said that I wish I had not said, or at least in the manner I said it. This maybe partly due to the fact that I am a communicator, and therefore am more conscious of what and how I am saying something. My conscience on this matter has also been shaped by a firm belief that there is power in our words. So I have endeavoured to be highly vigilant in this area.

Here Peter is encouraging the qualities of compassion, love, being tenderhearted and courteous, not trying to bring revenge but blessing. And he links it to the use of the tongue.

If you, like me, are one of those who talk a lot, the challenge rises!

Proverbs 10:19 NKJV
In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.

However, whether you are a talker or not it is important to know that for all of
us our future is guided by the course our tongue steers. The apostle James
compares our tongue to the rudder of a boat – it maybe small but it steers the
entire ship!

If all we do is speak down about our lives, or the lives of others, then all we
will see and have is a downbeat life with few friends in it. However, if we can
control our tongues and speak up about life, even when it is down, to speak
well of others, even when they don’t deserve it, we will see life very
differently. We will steer a path through life with opportunities in it, we will
breed confidence in our soul to seize the moment and people will want to
connect with us. No-one wants to connect with someone who is regularly
negative.

Your words have the power of life and death.
Recently Lizby and I were talking with a friend who was going through a
challenging work situation. As we asked about it she said “I would rather not
talk about it at this moment as I am conscious of the power of my words”.

It was not that she was unwilling to talk about it at all, because she had done
so before with us, so it wasn’t that she was not reaching out for support (that
is important for all of us to do). But she realised she should not keep going
over the same ground as it was not good for her soul or the sense of her
future in her career.

This is a healthy respect for the power of the tongue.
So the question is, how do you talk to someone you trust about something
challenging without it being unhealthy?

Quite honestly that is not so difficult if our motivation is right.

We will nearly always speak from the overflow of our heart – keep the heart
right and the right tone will be carried on our words. If we keep a good
attitude toward our workplace even though we maybe going through a
challenging moment then we are able to be open with someone as we share
the challenge without being harsh, critical or gossiping.

Motivation is the primary issue, so the heart becomes the primary thing to
guard.

As we begin to thank God for the person who is becoming a problem to us,
or the work situation that is challenging us, or the spouse that is being
unreasonable, so we find our hearts remain soft. So as we begin to seek the
support of a person we trust, we do not speak with criticism but with a
openness to seek support.

Of course as people talk with you about matters, so it could open up an
offence or an annoyance in you. So if you are the friend, the trusted buddy,
be careful how you respond.

I find there are certain topics that if you get me onto them I can be tempted
to express a strong opinion in a way that could sound harsh or unnecessarily
critical. In these moments I have to guard my response.

So if someone is seeking your support and being controlled in how they
express themselves, don’t say things like “Tell me what you really think”,
“You have every right to be angry”, “Yes that is terrible, I’m not sure I could
cope with that myself”!!

When you see it written down like this, its shocking to think these are the
sort of things we can sometimes find ourselves saying. Stop yourself before
you do.

Try this instead. “I think you are handling this really well”, “I can see that this
is a challenging situation, I believe there is path through this”, “That would
frustrate me too, I fully understand, but I can see a strength in you to
overcome this”

Our language should be :
“I forgive them”
“It will work out”
“All things work together for good”
“I know there is a way through this”
“I am going to learn all I can while facing this situation”
“I will conquer this mountain”
“God’s plans for me are always the best”
“They never meant it!”
“Thank you”
“Sorry”
“Please”
“You’re welcome”
“You’re awesome”
“I appreciate it when you …”

The bible says ‘Let the weak SAY “I am strong”, let the poor SAY “I am rich”’.
That is not lying, it is simply using your tongue to determine how your future
is going to look.

Change your language, change your future. Change your words, change
the climate around your life. Change how you speak about others and you
change their life!

Thanks Pete for your wisdom!

Written by: Steve Warren