Talk That Builds Up
Mar 23, 2020 2031
Have you heard the expression, “Think before you speak”?
There’s a very good reason for that.
Build others up by the way you speak.
Language is a fundamental way through which human beings interact with the world around us. Language fundamentally resides in our brains, and not in our eyes or ears. That’s why people who are blind can still speak, the deaf can still read, and the mute can still hear. Language is hardwired into the way we think.
That’s why it’s so important to think before we speak: because that’s where all language begins. If we didn’t think before spoke, all that would come out of our mouths would be gobbled-gook.
However, the default position of our language isn’t neutral; it’s actually harmful, and often downright destructive. That’s because of the innate self-centredness of our hearts. And that’s without our even realising it! That is, unless we think before we speak!
What comes out of our mouths is largely driven by deep unconscious motivations. Unfortunately, these motivations are often tainted by factors such as selfishness, anger, or fear
But you always still have a choice about the kind of person you will become. Your words will always have one of two effects: they can either build up or they can destroy. Think about it: your words either bring a little bit of life, or they bring a little bit of death, to every relationship you have.
That’s why the Bible gives us this advice:
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 (Eph 4:29, NIV).
That’s really challenging! Here is a simple checklist based on this verse:
- Is what you are going to say wholesome?
- How will what you are going to say build up the other person?
- What are the needs of the other person in their present circumstances?
- How will what you are going to say benefit the other person?
When your talks builds others up, the one who will be built up the most will be you.
Of course, no-one goes through a checklist like this every time they go to say something. The reality is that most often, we talk without thinking.
But imagine if everyone around you knew that it was great having you around, because every time you spoke, you generally encouraged others, built them up, and made life better all-round. And imagine how much better your own relationships and life would be!
That’s why you need to start making the unconscious, conscious. So, how can we start to move towards the ideal that the Apostle Paul sets before us? Here are some suggestions:
- Consciously reflect on your key conversations at the end of the day. If you keep a journal, do it in writing. Evaluate them against the checklist above.
- If you are brave enough, ask those you trust to give you feedback. Often, others see the real you better than you do.
- Ask God to reveal to you the effect that your words have on others, and how you can impact others positively others in the things you say, rather than your words having a discouraging effect.
Remember, when your talks builds others up, the one who will be built up the most will be you.
But what about needing to talk about what is happening in your life that has you questioning this thing or that, like with tragedy or trauma or hardship? When you're struggling and in need of support, encouragement, and empathy/sympathy? I've had this Scripture used against me so many times that I was forced to seek support and encouragement and feelings from a different source than Christians. Balance isn't exercised but way over one way but not the other nor in balance.
Love this teaching. So many times I've put my two bobs worth into a conversation, only to go away thinking to myself. "I can't put my finger on it but... I think I've done more damage than good." Looking at this teaching I can recount those times when I believe I've had the call to speak but,. I didn't think before I spoke.. And now as I write this comment it comes to me and I have to confess that on those occassions, I wasn't looking to edify the other person, rather.. myself.. So Godly love wasn't getting a look in. Lord forgive me and help me to grow and learn as there's no telling what damage my words may have done people in the past.
Aug 15, 2022
That's a good point, Debra. The Bible shouldn't be used to judge and condemn others. - Grace and Peace, Eliezer