Have you ever walked into a room to discover others had been talking about you? A few years ago this happened to me. The incident left me feeling sliced up from the inside. It hurt and stung deeply.
It seems teachable life lessons come to us in repetition, repeating themselves in various patterns, calling attention for us to wake up and smell the coffee. The incident above was a culmination of things God had already been trying to teach me.
My words. The very bane of my passion is to edify others and write with artful expression. Unfortunately, I have also used them to tear others down. Usually behind their back in secret places.
|Photo courtesy istockphoto.com/salez|
In the months leading up that hurtful encounter I felt nudged to watch my mouth. Slowly, it was being revealed to me that I needed to watch my words. Guard them with my life!
"Set a guard over my mouth, O' Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." Psalm 141:3
It wasn't until I felt the guttural pain, inflicted by those overheard destructive words, that my eyes fully opened. I needed to experience the heartache for myself to become fully aware.
I think we have this tendency to believe that talking about others doesn't really hurt them. Although it may not directly affect the person at large; the bite, sting, and the poison is still present. Our words have the power to bring life or deliver death.
This week leadership expert Michael Hyatt discussed how our words impact others. You can find his podcast on the subject here.
So how do we overcome our tendency to talk about others?
Pay attention. How do you speak of others when they are not around? Are you bringing life or death to the conversation?
Listen. Your Spirit is talking to you...are you listening?
Learn. Practice makes perfect or something like that. Overcoming a habit such as talking ill about others takes time. It takes a commitment to change. The ability to re-create new, healthy ways for using our words. Learning is like muscle, the more you practice, the stronger you become.
What's at stake? It might seem silly to consider but the truth is that the power of our words is a contributing factor to our legacy. You are being watched and you are being mimicked. Your children, friends, relatives, co-workers, and even your enemies are listening. They are collecting, tasting, and digesting.
Consider for a moment the foundation you are laying. Is it wholesome and life giving? The power and potential is yours. Let's make it purposeful!