|(photo from atlantayogamovement.org)|
When things don’t make sense, it’s sometimes hard not to come up with a billion or two critical words to sum up the situation; for those of us on the more verbose end of the spectrum. You pithy people can probably sum things up in a brief negative sentence.
But, why are we so quick to jump into the deep end of negativity, simply because something doesn’t make sense to us? Does everything have to make sense to us? Is it not remotely possible that God speaks differently to others than He speaks to us? What is it about the human mind that makes us so quick to assume, and so often to assume incorrectly?
Many of us have been saturated with a lifetime of criticism, words that flew off the offenders lips so quickly, they couldn’t possibly have had time to analyze what they were saying or whether the words were necessary or even accurate. There will always be something critical to say about most every situation, if you want to live that way. Biting our tongues can be a bloody battle, especially if your tongue is as unruly as mine can be.
Remember when you were young and your mother said, repeatedly, “If you can’t find something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? She didn’t make that up on her own; all of our mothers said it. And their advice, unsolicited though it may have been, will probably serve us well in most situations.
If we take a few seconds to run those words by our Father before we let them slither between our lips, we can save a lot of broken hearts and spirits and do far more good in the world around us, than if we selfishly insist on blurting out all the negative thoughts that pass through our brains. We can raise confident, happy children and turn the hearts of the bitter people on our path in a new direction. We can more openly talk to our friends and we can contribute solutions to the problems around us, rather than merely heap fuel onto the already blazing piles of trouble that appear at every turn.
Before we can speak, we first think. But, too often, we don’t give the thought process enough micro-seconds of time to function, so it can protect the speech process from harmful actions. Or am I the only one guilty of this?
Do you have any suggestions for those of us who engage our mouths before, or without engaging our brains? Most of us are guilty of this, whether we recognize it or not. Maybe we don’t stick around long enough to see the hurt in the eyes of those we offend, but whether we acknowledge the wounds or not – they’re there. We can create wounds even when the target of our negativity isn’t within earshot.
Our tongues are powerful, indeed. Our words can be as deadly as a car with a drunk driver behind the wheel. Sometimes harsh words might be appropriate, but those harsh worlds should be well-considered before they’re spoken, too.
Often we’re critical for no good reason, other times we’re critical because we just don’t understand what we’re criticizing.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ’ and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 KJV
First, look for the good.