Have you ever known the person that never seems to have anything good to say? You know that person; they just seem to drain the mood of everyone in the room? You came to work today and the conversation just took a strange turn; you planned to be in a good mood, but the people around you planned otherwise. I get it. I knew a guy in college that could suck the life out of the room in a matter of minutes. It wasn’t that he wasn’t a good guy, he just didn’t have a good perspective on things. We would often look at each other when he would leave the room and say, “Somebody has to tell him”. Of course, they were all looking at me. Awesome, thanks guys.
When you speak you need to remember that your words have meaning. You can encourage or tear down. It’s really one or the other.
The Apostle Paul talks in Ephesians about unwholesome talk. We want to be careful about what we talk about. This is hard. I want to talk about the stuff that helps rather than the stuff that hurts. One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to unite believers in love, so if we upset each other with words, we “grieve” the Holy Spirit. Read that part again. It goes for our face to face interactions as well as online.
Negative talk seems to dominate so many conversations. It’s easy to get caught up in it. The phrase “misery loves company” makes sense to me. So it takes work to undo negative talk. Many times it’s disguised as “concern”. I wonder.
So, I had the talk with our friend (I suppose I drew the short straw). He took it well and having a loving community of friends (kind of like a church) to help him along, made all the difference in the world.
I think we have three choices when dealing with negative talk:
- We can be part of it. Eventually, it will seep into your life and bring you down.
- We can choose to walk away and ignore it (which is best if you’re not involved as friends-having earned the right to share).
- We can choose to love our friends enough to tell them that they are alienating others by negative statements. This is hard and isn’t for everyone, but if you have a relationship with this person, then you owe it to them to start with yourself. Make subtle positive statements and see if it rubs off on them. If not, then you’ll most likely need to address it a bit more directly.
I began these devotionals because I knew so many people that needed to hear something good. People are longing for Good News. Guess what? You are that Good News. Now go and be it.
I believe in you.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:29-30 (NIV)
Matt Hastings lives with his wife Keri and their five children in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He is the pastor of the Estill Springs Church of the Nazarene. [Editor’s Note: Matt has graciously allowed us to republish his weekly email devotionals on our site for our readers.]