My job on air at a Christian radio station allows me to say a lot of words every day. They are intentional words chosen to connect, encourage, lighten the mood and empower someone in their walk with Jesus. I always choose words that bring life and give hope. Not words that tear people down.
The same can be said for my life off the radio.
I do my best to speak words that bring life to others. But the real world isn’t made up of two minute sound bytes and sometimes I get myself in a pickle. Sometimes people push my buttons. Other times, God prompts me to speak words that challenge someone’s belief system or call out their life choices. I try my best to do it with grace and compassion. You probably do too in those circumstances. But let’s be real, we all mess up from time to time and speak words that crush the spirit.
“The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4
When your spirit is crushed by other people’s words…
It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s negativity. But just because they are throwing around words carelessly like hot potatoes, doesn’t mean we need to choose to return the favor, no matter how hurt we feel.
It’s rare that I fly off the handle or go off on a tangent about something these days. However, if you start talking crazy about pairing floral with plaids, that might get me to spiral off into outer space. But otherwise, I remain in control of my words most days.
I have chosen to remain in contact over the years with humans who use their words to cut people down. Sometimes those words are directed at me, other times they are directed at someone I care about. It can be defeating to surround yourself with someone that chooses to tear others down.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
Be a benefit to those who listen.
I want to speak life into someone’s soul. I don’t want to tear others down.
Do you speak words of life or death in your relationships?
I believe if you surround yourself with people who quickly pass judgment on others, speak words that stir up conflict and discourage people in their faith journey, that kind of crazy starts rubbing off on you!
With people like that in your life, seriously, who needs enemies?
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6
It’s dangerous to remain in relationships with people that lack grace.
The longer you stick around humans who like to tear others down, the easier it is for you to question your value as a human. Even if the harsh words aren’t directed at you, their negativity and judgement can easily begin to rub off on you the longer you the more you continue to surround yourself with their poor choices.
For instance, let’s say you have a friend who likes to tear apart their coworkers. They go on and on about their stupidity and lack of work ethic pretty much every time you see them. Each time you sit and listen, you give power to those words when you allow that type of negative talk to occur. And the more they give examples of their coworker’s issues, before you know it, you begin to wonder if your “friend” questions your intelligence and work ethic too!
The longer you hear that kind of negative talk, directly or indirectly, the easier it becomes to let that stuff rub off on you.
“As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.” Job 4:8
You can easily begin to internalize a negative person’s dialogue and bang yourself up for being just like the people they’re tearing down. Or you can start externalizing those views and see a lot of the same issues in your own coworkers and friends. Either way, that’s harsh! No one is perfect, but we need more grace, less judgment in our relationships.
“The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.” Proverbs 15:28
I don’t want to gush evil, do you?
I am a huge believer in the power of therapy. It can challenge your viewpoints on the world and help you become a stronger, better version of the person that God created you to be.
I did this exercise ages ago that helped me realize that the words I am choosing to say over myself lately have mimicked the negative words others have said to me over the years. By the way, when you hit that level of self-discovery it can be scary, because then you need to start figuring out which relationships in your current season of life need to change, and which ones need to go. You can only do that kind of hard work with Jesus on your side!
Jesus is the only opinion that matters.
I realized that I unintentionally allowed certain people’s negative worldviews to overtake mine. Meaning that their harsh viewpoints and criticism of the world and others (and me!) had rubbed off to such a degree that I began to see the world through their tainted lens.
I began to lack compassion with certain people in my life, pass judgment on others and create an atmosphere of negativity in my own soul. It happened so slowly that I’m honestly not sure I realized it until I was left feeling empty and angry.Jesus is the only opinion that matters. Click To Tweet
God’s Word is life affirming!
You struggle with this stuff too. I know you do. Because being human is hard. Relationships are hard. And no one is perfect. This is part of our human condition. And it’s a learning process no matter where you are in the journey.
Life brings us opportunities to offer ourselves and others compassion and grace, while pulling the blinders off our eyes on the poor behavior we’ve tolerated from others.
Whether it’s a parent, close friend, family member, spouse or even that loud-mouth neighbor or coworker in your life, someone you see regularly lives life out of a negative lens. And that behavior isn’t healthy for you to feed into.
We need God’s Truth to feed our souls!
That’s why we need Jesus!
God’s Word is the ultimate weapon against the negative words that threaten to tear us down.
It’s easy to take on the identity of your failures or your grief or the negative humans you choose to remain in contact with if you don’t have positive, life-affirming Truth to counteract that negativity. You also need healthy boundaries, but that is a topic for another day.It's important to fill yourself up with God’s Word and remember who He says you are. Click To Tweet
Spend a little time with Jesus today and feed your soul!
5 Truths That Feed Your Soul
- You’re totally worth dying for. (John 3:16)
- You’re chosen and deeply loved. (Colossians 3:12)
- You’re redeemed. (Ephesians 1:7)
- You can survive hard stuff. (Philippians 4:13)
- You’re free from condemnation. (Romans 8:1)
The Salt & Light featured blogger is…
I love this post from Susan of Carry On My Heart. Susan beautifully reflects on how God is intentional with the words He shares to us through His Word. She writes: “A God that gives every detail away and would explain how he sustains a vast universe and a tiny human heart all at once, isn’t really much of a God. His great mystery and mighty love—the enigma that is him— keeps me wanting to learn more of him. A God that left his word but holds the parts that are too big for our tiny minds is just the God that we need.”
I am a co-host of the weekly Salt & Light Linkup Blogging Community. If you are a female Christian blogger, come join us for some prayer, encouragement and a weekly linkup in our Facebook group. One blogger is highlighted in social media and on our blogs each week!