Written many years ago, but still valid today!
“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:13,14
“You don’t tell me as many things as you used to,” Barbara observed as we drove along.
I was silent for a minute, and then replied, “That’s because I’m editing out most of my negative comments!”
That was a startling thought: probably fifty percent of what I used to say was negative! Much of it was just observations, like: “What an ugly coat;” “Look how crooked the windows are in that building;” “I’d never get a haircut like that!”
Others were judgmental, such as: “Where did that idiot get his driver’s license?” “That’s the worst job of painting I’ve ever seen;” “Who’d ever want to buy something like that?”
None of these comments were necessary. Even correct comments, like how society is going downhill, often end up dragging us down with them.
Think of all the time, breath, energy and brain cell-space I’m saving by eliminating those unnecessary, unhelpful utterances! And just by being quiet on those points I am influencing people positively, eliminating another unedifying force in their lives.
This is not to say that we should never utter anything negative; there are definite times to point out, judge and condemn what is wrong, such as this statement: “Being negative about your wife is not going to help you love her more! Rather than dwell on what you don’t like about her, make a list of her positives and your own negatives that she has to deal with!” We need to be positively sure that a negative statement is constructive in nature and intent.
It is necessary to consistently remind myself to not give vent to negative statements, and the Holy Spirit certainly prompts me to edit them out—if I am open to His leading.
Memorizing and meditating on Scripture helps. Right now, I’m working on 1 John 3, which starts with: “How great is the love the Father lavishes on us that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are!” There is beauty, edification, joy and stimulating truth all wrapped up in two short sentences.
Let’s cooperate with the Spirit and continually move towards Truth, which is twinkling on the pathway ahead. As the Word says, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever more brightly until the full light of day” (Pro. 4:18).
Prayer: “Lord, make us sensitive to the leading of the Spirit in avoiding speaking and thinking negative, destructive, selfish, judgmental statements that lead us and others away from the light. Amen.”