“How would your life be different if…You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day…You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.” ~ Steve Maraboli
I recently told my daughter that we all have power – but how we use it makes the difference. The power I was referring was our words. To speak only the good, you have to look for the good in people. We all have personality traits that we need to work on, family drama and life situations.
When coaching and ministering women, I spend a considerable time identifying their strengths, what has made them happy and given them joy in their life – all the way back to their childhood. The conversation is often drawn to the pain in their heart – the hurt in their lives, who and what has wronged them. It can be quite the struggle in getting them to identify “the good” in themselves and their lives. To set goals and be inspired and empowered to heal and live their life to the fullest.
There is a particular focus though on what people have said to them. I help them move past focusing on what the person did or said. Our thoughts, what we say, and who we are a reflection of encouragement. It all starts with our words.
So what are we discussing?
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Some people go all out with their “networking” aka gossiping, watching the person, and going through all the details in that person’s life to “shift out the bad.” Consider that this is a waste of mental and spiritual energy. And we will often use the name of Jesus to justify our behavior. Are we operating in fear or love?
It is so easy to tear someone down, when it can take days, months, even years for someone to be built up again. The Bible speaks of one being a silly woman (or a silly man) for that matter. One who tears down, walks away “puffed up”; with their ego inflated and feeling that they are “well done” in the Lord. Let’s just say that God is not pleased nor mocked.
The Word says “Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands.” (Proverbs 14:1) When you uplift or encourage others, you are actually encouraging yourself. You are building your own spiritual house. Just as when you tear someone down, you are tearing down your own, essentially tearing down God’s kingdom.
So we should let “but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.” (Ephesians 4:29)
We all have good in us – as we are all made in God’s image and likeness. But through life experiences and our choices, it has been pounded down so far and so small, you can’t see it anymore. Sometimes you have to dig deep and look real hard to find the good, but it is there. You know how I know – because we are all God’s creations. We are all made for His glory.
But life has beat us up and beat us down. We can have such a spirit of discouragement, defeat, been mistreated and hurt, full of bitterness. We have lost our way in life, lost our way from God’s love.
Trust, I have been there. When you are hurt, ashamed and embarrassed by your life’s sins and circumstances. And then hurt by someone’s choice of how they choose to use their power. So you see that person hurting and you have a choice. To be part of their healing or be part of their hurt. Do not let us tear down what we cannot build back up.
“Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also.” (Galatians 6:1)
And there is a time and a place, a how and a when to correct in love. Yes, we have to own our mistakes and accept the consequences. But let the Spirit led and guide you in correcting. As all things are permissible but all things are not helpful and constructive.
“And though a man might prevail against him who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) Will you stand with your fellow sister? Uplift her in prayer and encourage her in building herself in the faith? While she is “going through” and overcoming? Speak only the good and have the right words “in season?”
How can we “speak only the good?”
1. Think encouragement – Think positively and look for the good in others. At times we only look for the wrong in people, versus looking for what is right or good. Is your thinking the glass half-empty or half-full?
2. Speak encouragement — Be an encourager; speak life. The Word tells us to encourage one another every day. Life has a number of challenges that we face each and every day. We can choose to see only these challenges, that there is no hope, and “all is lost”. Or we can choose to trust God through them and see twice as much positive as we see the negative. That they we will come out stronger than before.
Remember to speak positive, opportunity, and then positive. One thing I learned in encouraging others, is to identify the positives to overcome the negatives. Encourage the positives and continue to work with them on the negatives. As they will be encouraged in operating in their gifts and their strengths, the other areas of their life will start to get stronger. That person who struggled so with a particular area may now have overcome it or tremendously gifted in it. Remember that God major in the “minors”.
3. Be encouragement — Pray and ask God to give you the spirit of encouragement. Are you that person that is so negative, people go the other direction when they see you? Do you enter the room with a warm smile? A simple squeeze of the hand and reassuring eyes makes a difference. Take the opportunity to be a blessing. We have to be sensitive to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. We must be ready for an opportunity to minister to others.
Sometimes we spend hours even days planning a confrontation with someone and the choice words that we will use. Well how about channeling that energy into “speaking the good” to people and situations.
“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” ~ Marvin J. Ashton
It seems so easy to “fault find” than to find the good in others. Some of us are “fault finders” because we are insecure within ourselves and become jealous of one’s gifts and successes. This includes “seasoned” folk.
But it is just as easy to be one who encourages. Remember we can do all things who Christ strengthens us. Remember when no one else does, sometimes you just have to encourage yourself in the Lord. He always there for you – just choose to be an encourager.
It starts within – how are you encouraging yourself in the Lord? Seek to understand the power of words – your words through the Word of God. How will you choose to use your power today? Will you choose to tear someone down with your words or choose to build them up?