A Woman Who Speaks Words of Grace

Words of Grace1

The words were never meant for my ears.

It was just one of those silly mistakes that people make. Although this time the blunder felt more like a blow.

She accidentally left a voice message on my husband’s phone. This woman thought she was calling our mutual friend, but had misdialed. Wrong number. Wrong person. And wrong message.

So not realizing her error, she freely ranted and raged. She said nasty things, and even used nasty words, to describe her feelings about “the wife”.

That Wife that was me.

I’m certain she never would have said those things to my face. In fact, she’d always been fairly polite to me. While we weren’t close friends, we had – what I thought was – an amicable working relationship. But apparently that was not the case.

For what she was said about me was really awful. Mean. Spiteful.

Spoken words that stabbed.

She was horrified, of course, when she learned of her error. When confronted, she was embarrassed and quick to apologize, and I quick to forgive.

But we both knew there was no taking them back. The words had been said. The ugliness had been spilled out. And the damage had been done. Our relationship would never be the same again.

It was a lesson to remember. The power of words.

A woman has the power to speak that which builds up…or that which tears down. What if my “friend” had accidentally left a message that had raved – rather than ranted – about me? What if she’d said how much she appreciated me? Or valued my efforts? She could have made my day (instead of the other way around).

The words we speak can make all the difference in someone’s life. And it’s up to us to say them in a way that will “impart grace to the hearers.”

How do you avoid saying negative things about others?

Make a decision. Pledge to yourself and to God that you will not speak ill of others. One of the “tests” is to imagine if that person overheard what you were saying. Would you be embarrassed? Would that person be surprised or hurt?

If so…Simply Don’t Say It!

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. (Ps. 141:3)

What about if someone is speaking wrongly about others to you?

If possible, try to redirect the discussion to something else. Change the subject. Or, think of something positive to say and share that instead.

Or, if it comes down to it, be willing to inform your friend that you are uncomfortable in these kinds of conversations. Sure, it can be a bit awkward, but it won’t take any time at all before you are known as someone who won’t gossip or degrade others. Plus? It should be comfort to your friend to know that means you would never talk down about her either.

What if you know someone else is talking badly about you? 

Such a horrible place to be in and yet, we’ve all been there. As difficult as it can be, you should probably confront them. In some cases, you might need to go to her directly and, in others, take a third person with you. If so, it should be someone you trust and, preferably, someone the other person respects as well.

So what do you say about other people? 

Kind and gracious things. Words that encourage and believe the best about the other person. Say the sorts of things that if the other person heard you…or the message was repeated to her….she’d feel loved and lifted up.

Yes, those kinds of words.

Those words are powerful too – powerfully uplifting.

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers (Eph. 4:29)

In His grace,

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  • Thankful

    Lisa,

    Thank you for this post! I am someone who has to fight against the negative thought process. I realize that I am quick to tear down, rather than build up. God has been speaking to me, and I am trying, by His grace, to watch what I say to others. Also, how I feel about others! Whenever I am tempted to think negatively about someone I try to stop and pray for that person. It is not always easy, but with God’s help, it is helping me to see that while I was feeling attacked by others, I was doing the same! This realization hit me so hard, that I wanted to deny the fact. But God so lovingly said “Child we need to work on this!” Thank you for posting this as another example from God that I do not want to ruin my relationship with someone, by saying things that hurt! God bless you!

  • Elena

    What a timely reminder! As an aside, my mother told me a story long ago where she was having trouble with gossip. She and her girlfriend would talk on the phone and one thing always led to another so she began praying about it. She’d ask God to close her mouth if she were to gossip again. So one day, she and her girlfriend were again talking on the phone and the conversation turned to a certain person they both disliked. My mother opened her mouth to speak and it suddenly snapped shut! Not only did it snap shut, but it stayed shut for several moments. She simply couldn’t open her mouth to speak! Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor! :-)

  • http://club31women.com/ Lisa

    I loved this story, Elena! There are times when I’d like God to do this for me! :)

  • Dayna

    Such a great post! This is something I have struggled with in the past and still do at times. I used to join right in with my friends and sometimes started those ugly conversations I’m ashamed to say. However, now I am so uncomfortable and begin wondering what my friends say about me when every time we are together they are tearing someone down. One day I spoke up for the person they were speaking against, and our friendship changed that day. Not in the way I would like but I know where I stand. I have since apologized for setting such a bad example in the past and made them aware that this is not the person I want to be. I like what someone said earlier, when you have ill thoughts of someone stop and pray for them. Did Jesus not pray for his enemies while they were crucifying Him?

  • http://embracingrace.com Leah

    Great post! Something that helps me is remembering that the other person is someone who God loves dearly. In that light, I have no right to tear them down or to not forgive them. Not always easy, but it sure helps to put it into perspective. And it’s difficult to resolve with folks who aren’t interested in a peaceful relationship. Sometimes we just have to leave it with God. As a pastor’s wife, I face many unique situations with people…lots of opportunities to sharpen and be sharpened, I guess you could say! :) Thanks for your thoughts, Lisa!

  • Carla

    I just heard an 85 year old woman speak on the power of the tongue this past Wednesday evening and it was so wonderful and yet so painful at the same time. She told about how her children didn’t seem to have a close relationship with her husband and she could not understand why. For years she had asked God to change her husband, help her husband, and grow her husband. Then God showed her it wasn’t her husband causing the barrier…it was her. Every time she said things over the phone to a friend or in the kitchen over a cup of coffee like “My husband makes me so mad! He never…or He always…” the children were nearby and heard her. They began to see him as some sort of enemy to what mom was trying to do. My wise friend said that when she realized God was calling her out on it she was completely broken. It took her several days just to forgive herself before she could apologize to her husband and her children. But God…(I love that statement in the Bible) restored their relationships and grew their family in ways that only He could. What a mighty and wonderful God we serve. Thank you for your reminder. I am asking God for daily guidance when I speak to my adult children. One is getting married this September and we are thoroughly enjoying the planning of the wedding, but I would be lying if I said every day has been rosy because there have definitely been times when I have had to choose my words carefully. Thank God He meets us where we are! God bless you and your ministry for Him!

  • http://club31women.com/ Lisa

    What an amazing testimony! And how precious to her that God restored those relationships! I’m so thankful that “God meets us where we’re at” like you say here. I’m counting on it! :)

  • Susan McCurdy

    Thanks for this warning about how powerful our words can be. I also appreciated the tips on “what to do” when one is tempted to speak unwisely or one is in the presence of negative, slanderous talk. Having a plan to escape either situation is wonderful!

  • http://ajcrazies.blogspot.com Aimee K.

    Ever since I read this, it has been in my heart to speak “words of grace”. To have actions and words that are filled with grace, rather than degrading and rude. Not that I’ve always lived up to it. But with God’s grace, I am trying! I’ve been wanting to come read this for a while to see what you had written again. It’s so true! And it’s much better on our own minds and spirits if we’re full of grace rather than rudeness. Thanks for this post!!

  • http://club31women.com/ Lisa

    You’re welcome, Aimee, and how nice of you to come back again! I’m reminded too of how I want to speak words of grace (especially in a difficult situation right now).