Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs. Eph. 4:29
Don’t you wish people were consistently encouraging with their words? I can carry one nasty comment with me for years, but my future can also be shaped for the good by a few words of praise.
Oftentimes the negative things I hear from others confuse me. When do I know if I’m hearing the truth about myself? I need a grid for sifting what goes into my ears before it enters my heart.
How about some initial questions I can consider before just owning another’s words and setting myself up for a painful detour:
- Who’s doing the talking?
- Does this person really care about me?
- Would this person be happy if I succeeded in life?
- Does this person have the reputation for being a cheerleader or someone who discourages?
- Is there anything this person can gain by putting me down, such as power or control?
- When I see this person coming, do I think, “Oh no, now what will I hear from her, or him?”
When I’ve run through this list, if I still feel the comment could be true, I talk to God about it. I ask His Spirit to confirm it through prayer, Scripture, and people I trust. If He does not, I disown it.
God is not a tormentor. He does not bring a word of correction without giving me resolution and freedom in my spirit. If I find myself wallowing in despair and failure because of someone’s criticism, I may be hurting for nothing. Satan has used another’s mouth to hurt me, for he is driven to destroy my trust in God and make sure I never discover the joy of my calling.
I believe you above everyone else. Give me discernment, Lord. Amen
Journal Question: What comment, label or prediction, stings the most from my past. Could have been said even this morning. Make today the last day you rehearse it and take it to Your Father. He will show you, through His Word and prayer, whether it’s true or a lie. He can erase the words in your spirit as though they’d never been spoken as you forgive your offender.