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Today’s post is from a good friend of mine. Gary Pollard (18) writes to demonstrate the benefits associated with speech that is encouraging, rather than degrading. Consider his thoughts:
“For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect [complete] man, able also to bridle his whole body” (James 3:2, ESV).
One of the hardest things to control in the whole world is a tongue. The way we use this simple muscle gives others an insight into our hearts and minds. I have not, as many others have not, always been perfect in my speech. There is so much more to speech than language. If what I have to say isn’t positive and uplifting, I have no business saying it. That’s extremely hard!
What is in our hearts comes out of our mouths. If my heart is filled with bitterness and anger, it will be apparent in the way I talk. If I fill my heart with love, love comes out in my speech. If I am humble, I am less likely to demean others in what I say. A thoughtless or critical word could turn someone away from Christ. That error will be on our hands. Let’s pray that our speech will lift others up, not tear them down.
“Be careful of your thoughts; they may become words at any moment.” –Ira Gassen
It seems that the simple switch in speech is one that brightens up everyone’s day. Will you consider it today?
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My wife’s grandparents are still living. One of my favorite memories with them was when they offered to take us to the local high school play where they live in north Alabama. We got our tickets, went in to the auditorium, and began reading the program to understand what the play was about. The lights went low, the actors came out and went through the scene…and halfway through the first scene, grandpa leans over to grandma and says, “This is the most boring play I think we’ve ever been to.”
As soon as the intermission started, grandpa leans over grandma and asks the two of us, “Do you guys want to go home?” We all got up and went to the back of the auditorium, and proceeded to the car. Then, it happened. As we were walking through the parking lot, my wife’s grandpa–who is well into his eighties–ran a full sprint through the parking lot to the car. You would have thought a sheep-dog had been released into the pasture.
Obviously, life is merely the beginning during the golden years. I am thankful to Grandpa H. Daniel for teaching me that lesson. I’m sure he would join me in this invitation to you. Make the simple switch from feeling inadequate to useful. You who are righteous, will flourish without regrets (Psalm 95:12-15).
Marriage, to me, can be summarized into one word–”interesting.”
My wife is one for simplicity. When she does anything, she does so with precision and efficiency. I, on the other hand, am slow and tedious. I can remember days where she has not only done four loads of laundry in an afternoon, but also put our clothes in their proper places in the same period of time. On the occasions she wants me to unload the dryer, she knows she is most wise in telling me to dump the clothes onto the bed so that she can do the rest. This is because I separate everything into piles first. My jeans are laid over here, her shirts are laid over there, socks are piled on the floor, and the semi-damp pieces are draped over the chairs in the dining area. Not only that, but every time a new piece is laid out, I make sure to flesh out every wrinkle, and if the clothes are dressy–I hang them up and put them together on our bedroom door handle. Only after all of it is in the appropriate sorting stack does the real work begin. Now I can fold the pants in just the right way before I hang them, just the right way, on the hangers. As I do the same for the shirts, each item is placed in the closet one by one. Yes, one by tedious one.
As I type this I’m beginning to see not only why I take so long with laundry, but also how much patience my wife has for who I am and what I do. I recently heard a guy use the word “bumfuzzled” in a sentence, and now I am determined to use that word in my blog. So, here I go. I must say that I am often bumfuzzled by the fact that my wife and I have lived with, and learned to work through, many of our differences. How have we done this?
The short answer is that it has worked for us, and I encourage you and your spouse to apply this simple switch. Instead of automatically getting frustrated with your husband’s quirks or your wife’s peculiarities, submit to one thought before complaining or acting otherwise. Think to yourself, “Even though I don’t understand, I will still be understanding.”
Does your school have a “Spirit Week?” You know, those weeks in which each day called for something different, and people came to school meeting that criteria. These included “Crazy Hair Days,” “Mis-matched Socks Days,” “Retro Days,” and others. Personally, I never wanted anything to do with any of these days for any reason. For one, I had no steady stream of income. I mean, I was so broke I couldn’t even pay attention. More importantly, however, I never participated because I didn’t want to be considered weird.
That’s right. While I may have wanted to be popular deep down, I knew my efforts would be fruitless. I am not Type A or extroverted, and I don’t regularly crave any serious amount of attention from others. So, for four years, I figured that if I was at least “one level” more cool than the next guy, then I at least could get by (a mindset that I now wish I had changed).
Please understand that I try my best not to label other people with harsh labels, but honestly…measuring up to everyone else’s standards was hard, because not every person was exactly like me. I haven’t always been able to get along with every person I have ever met, just as I have also known people who would say the same about me.
Here’s my simple switch for you. Rather than holding the next guy accountable to your standards, prevent him from being discouraged, and encourage him to stand on his.
I attend school with a guy who is from the British Virgin Islands. Not long ago, he was asking me how to properly drive in the snow while we were traveling down the road during a big blizzard. As soon as I told him how not to lose control, I lost control and slid into the sidewalk. Thankfully a ‘used’ tire rim only cost us slightly more than an Andrew Jackson.
Have you ever felt like you had no control? Maybe your wife was sick and you wanted to be sick in her place. Maybe your husband lost his job and you wanted to cheer him up. Maybe you watched the news today and wondered, “How come we still haven’t found a cure for cancer?”
Life sometimes leaves us feeling empty. The answers to these questions and others like them are often left to suspicion with even fewer answers.
How do we change this?
The simple switch clearly involves becoming full where we were once empty. How do we dig ourselves out after being buried?
What are your thoughts? Do you think it comes from within? If yes, why? If not, why not?