Sometimes I can be having a conversation with my wife or daughter about something that I’m really interested in – say football, current affairs or something I’ve seen on television and I will enthusiastically talk at some length about the subject – only to be met with either body language that says ‘whatever’ or verbal language that definitely says ‘whatever!’ They simply don’t care! They’re not interested! They just don’t get me…
One be of the biggest battles we face in this negative, critical world is to choose to be positive and focus on the good things rather than the bad. It seems to be human nature that we can have a great time at church, at work or college, or a meal out with friends and yet we will go away discussing one small thing that we didn’t like!
‘I thought Pastor’s message was great, it was really insightful but I really wish he wouldn’t….’
‘I love going to Sally & Dave’s house but….’
‘Yes, I had a great day at the office but every time….’
Why do we do that?!
I believe there is a constant battle going on between our new nature in Christ and our old sinful nature which causes us to sometimes slip back into old ways. What’s worse is that as we pour out our criticisms, it not only kills our joy and happiness, in what was actually a pretty good experience, but even worse – it brings down the other person – who before we opened our mouths was feeling quite good, thank you very much!
I guess this is why Paul encouraged the Ephesians believers:
‘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.’ (Ephesians 4:29)
I’m certainly not perfect in this area – I’m seeking to improve – pastors can be capable of having a good old moan at times, just like everyone else, but I was challenged as I read these words the other day and I’m trying to remember that phrase ‘Whatever‘ and apply it to my thought life and my speech:
‘Finally, brothers and sisters;
whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable
-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.’ (Philippians 4:8)
Make ‘Whatever’ A Way Of Life!
If we made it a rule to only think or speak about these things, what a positive and affirming place our lives would be. We bring ourselves and others down with that little thing called the tongue. James warns us:
‘With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.’ (James 3:9-10)
Don’t Help The Enemy!
I’m really challenged that, rather than use my tongue to help the enemy (the devil) do his work, I should use my tongue in a positive way for praising, encouraging, building up, affirming, strengthening, supporting, healing, soothing and ministering to those who need to hear something from heaven rather than the ‘other place.‘
‘The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.’ (Proverbs 15:4)
‘He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.’ (Proverbs 11:25)
Positive, affirming, encouraging people are some of the most popular people around. They are never short of company, friends or invitations. The reason is simple – they are a joy to spend time with.
Pause To Reflect
How have you used your tongue lately for building up or pulling down?
Who can you positively affirm and encourage today?
Who would really benefit from hearing you speak some positive affirming words today?
The ‘Whatever’ Way!
Make a choice, with me today, to only think and only say ‘Whatever…’