How effective or detrimental are my words?
This is a question that I am pondering
this morning as I reflect on a discussion I had last night with two people that I
love from the deepest part of my being. As I consider, not their words but mine, I am asking myself five questions:
First, did I draw them to Christ or push them away? I am afraid that I did not show grace sufficient enough to point them to the One who can truly help them and me.
Second, was I thinking the worst or assuming the best? I am afraid, once again, that I was thinking and expecting the worst. In other words, my mind was made up before we started. I know that is never the best place to start. So why do I do that and what do I do about it?
Third, did I give encouragement or did I tear down? Once again, I believe I failed miserably with this one. I am usually an encourager but this time I believe I pushed my loved one away with my negativity. I understand fully how beneficial positive, biblical thinking is to me and others. Yet in this conversation I was overtly negative. Now in hindsight (which is always 20/20) I am kicking myself for not being an encourager.
Fourth, did I rehash the past or move into the present? Oh how quickly the past comes into play. Why do we do bring up those things that are done and gone? I am quick to preach against living in the past yet here I was trying to deal with things that cannot be changed. Granted we must learn from the past or the cycle continues but why hurt ourselves and the ones we love by reliving the past.
Finally, did I shine light on the growth or the weaknesses of my loved ones? It appears as I reflect on the conversation I was a good finger pointer to the weaknesses. I do see some growth but I do not remember pointing to it even one time.
I have no doubt that the discussion had to take place. My problem comes in the inappropriate way that I handled the situation. For that I humbly apologize and ask forgiveness. My goal in future discussions, regardless of who they are with, is to think about these fives things before I begin opening my mouth and causing undue hardship and pain. I understand that what I say and how I say it will make a difference in someone’s life one way or the other. I truly do want to be a positive, encouraging; Christ centered individual, living in the present, and growing in the grace and knowledge of the Savior. May I be like the great American theologian, Jonathan Edwards who resolved that there be something of benevolence in all he said.
Lord help me to do so!