James 3:2 “We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way.”
I am a talker; one that can go on and on and on about almost anything or nothing at all. As a kid, I talked nonstop. I read a lot, so I enjoyed having discussions about my latest book selection, sometimes with people that never took the time to read. So of course, I dominated the conversation. In the presence of my friends and teammates, I would talk about everything from school, to boys, to books, to sports. If you dared to listen, this chic was taking the mic.
Entering my senior year of high school, I started to realize as much as I loved to talk. I would only torture a select few with my endless conversations. And as I continued to grow older, I became conscious of the fact that I only vented my negative thoughts to those I could really trust. I would only release my frustrations among those who would allow me to vent to make me feel better but wouldn’t aid in my moment of misery and/or poor assessment of others.
In the age of social media, people have become bolder with speaking thoughts and giving others a “piece of their mind.” I recently saw a post on Facebook that impacted two families. It was insensitive to the needs of one family and disparaging to the other family. I started to comment, but before doing so I read the comments that had been previously posted. I shared some of the comments with my husband and to say I was disgusted was an understatement. Many people felt their remarks were justified because they were “keeping it real” by speaking the truth. But, what didn’t register was the idea that their truths were slander. They were speaking with the desire to hurt another and destroy someone’s reputation even in truth. I decided there was no need to comment; the best thing to do was press mute instead of assassinating one person’s character to spare another.
Although I didn’t comment, I wondered how could someone be so cruel? I started to think about friends, family and dissect some of their behaviors. I recognized those that shared positive words and showed favorable behaviors all had some of the same characteristics.
Observation #1: Positive people can speak pleasant things about others because they are self satisfied. The optimists have accepted themselves as the individual they were created to be in spite of imperfections and have found ways to grow. The love they have for self allows them to sincerely love others. We don’t hurt those we love, right? Matthew 12:34-35 “Whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good words from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil words from an evil heart.”
Observation #2: Those that are certain of themselves are honest but speak the truth in love. They are not critical but encouraging, always seeking that “but” moment to transform a negative situation into something positive. For them, every circumstance brings a new opportunity.
Observation #3: Productive people don’t feel the need to speak on every situation. Mark Twain said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” Some things are better left unsaid. If your intent is not to open your mouth and spew out something meaningful, maybe it’s better to be quiet.
If you’re a chatter box like me, it’s okay to keep verbalizing your thoughts. Someone might actually need to be uplifted. Just remember to make sure your tongue is connected to your brain! And for those special moments when your mouth and brain are not working on one accord, in that moment, remember that silence really is golden.
Pants (New York & Co.)
Shirt (T.J. Maxx)