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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