I have recently made a challenge to myself that I am finding a little more difficult to do than I thought it would be. I decided that I will no longer bring up negative things in conversations. I don’t want to tell what didn’t go well, what I don’t like, what someone did that I think they shouldn’t have done, or what’s troubling me. I think you get the drift. Instead I find positive things to talk about.
I believe Paul truly had sound direction for us in Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
It starts with what I allow in my mind. If I am thinking about the negatives, that is probably what is going to be in my conversation. On the other hand, positive thoughts should lead to positive words.
Then Paul says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).
Do my negative words edify anyone in any way? Do they minister grace to the person I am talking to? For me the answer is no.
As I have accepted my personal challenge (I haven’t even told Steve, but now he will know so that gives me added accountability :)), I regularly find some of my conversation being shut down. That means I need to come up with new things to talk about—the positive, the good, the areas of gratitude, what I can praise the Lord for—those are edifying and those bring grace to the hearer.
I find myself doing well for a while until there is something negative I really, really want to tell Steve or another family member. Then I justify talking about it by deciding that they either need to know or would want to know, so I speak it out. As I have done that, though, I have also discovered that it really didn’t matter. It just satisfied my desire to tell it. They didn’t need to know and likely they didn’t want to know.
With November being the month we celebrate Thanksgiving, we tend to think more about being thankful. As I sat down to write this Mom’s Corner, gratitude was my first idea for a topic, but then I realized that my thoughts of thanksgiving right now are rooted in a desire to be free of negative thoughts. When I look for what I can thank the Lord for in a person or in a situation—and that can take a concerted effort—then I avoid dwelling on negative or critical thoughts.
Even though I have failed regularly in my personal challenge of positive rather than negative conversations, I am determined to continue. I believe this is pleasing to the Lord and that it will make me a more pleasing person to be around. What would happen to your thoughts and your conversation if you gave yourself the challenge that I have given myself? What would happen to your relationship with your husband, with your children, with others?
Trusting in Jesus,