What we say doesn’t just reflect our mood, it affects are mood. More than that, it affects the mood of those around us.
It’s just so easy to join in on a good grumble about all the problems that we share at work, or at church, or in life in general. We might well be the instigator of such conversations without even realising it. Of course, everyone joins in; no-one wants to offend the person who is feeling down by telling them they are wrong.
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t saying anything at all.”
To be able to move on and get beyond problems that affect us we will need to deal with the way we talk. By continually complaining and grumbling we are actually telling ourselves that things will never be any different. We confirm that we believe that the problem is too difficult to overcome and list excuses why we should not even try. Complaining undermines hope.
How many times have we watch a hollywood film where one member of a group seems intent on spoiling the hero’s plans. They go against every good idea and grumble at any attempt to get out of the current peril. We recognise them instantly as the ‘baddy’ by their behaviour. The question is though, do we recognise when we’re being the baddy in our work, or in our homes, or with our friends?
To see our situation change we need to begin to change the flavour of our conversation. This might mean just being quiet and refusing to say anything negative about a person or situation. At first this will be difficult because we’re so used to joining in with everyone else. People will expect us to back them up when talking about how terrible things are.
Here are some suggestions on practical ways to change the way we speak.
- Refuse to complain about a person or situation
- Make a list of positives and focus on those instead
- Stay quite and listen to others when they complain
- Resist being draw in to a negative conversation
- If necessary, make an excuse to go and do something else
- Ask questions like, “Why do you thing that is?” or “What are you going to do?”
- Don’t think yourself better than others just because you’re not joining in
- Give thanks to God for the other person or situation
I’m sorry for the times I have pulled others down by the way I have spoken. Forgive me for being negative and affecting the mood of those around me. Instead of using opportunities to build others up, I have acted in weakness and joined in the complaining. Help me to now to focus on the hope you have promised me, to change the way I talk, that I might be a blessing to others. Thank you for the MARVELLOUS work you are doing in my life. Thank you that you do not leave me in my situation forever but instead help me to overcome.
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:6
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. Proverbs 21:23
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29