Talk That Builds Up
Mar 23, 2020 1003
Have you heard the expression, “Think before you speak”?
There’s a very good reason for that.
Language is a fundamental way through which human beings interact with the world around us. Language fundamentally resides in our brains, and not in our eyes or ears. That’s why people who are blind can still speak, the deaf can still read, and the mute can still hear. Language is hardwired into the way we think.
That’s why it’s so important to think before we speak: because that’s where all language begins. If we didn’t think before spoke, all that would come out of our mouths would be gobbled-gook.
However, the default position of our language isn’t neutral; it’s actually harmful, and often downright destructive. That’s because of the innate self-centredness of our hearts. And that’s without our even realising it! That is, unless we think before we speak!
What comes out of our mouths is largely driven by deep unconscious motivations. Unfortunately, these motivations are often tainted by factors such as selfishness, anger, or fear
But you always still have a choice about the kind of person you will become. Your words will always have one of two effects: they can either build up or they can destroy. Think about it: your words either bring a little bit of life, or they bring a little bit of death, to every relationship you have.
That’s why the Bible gives us this advice:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Eph 4:29, NIV).
That’s really challenging! Here is a simple checklist based on this verse:
- Is what you are going to say wholesome?
- How will what you are going to say build up the other person?
- What are the needs of the other person in their present circumstances?
- How will what you are going to say benefit the other person?
Of course, no-one goes through a checklist like this every time they go to say something. The reality is that most often, we talk without thinking.
Build others up by the way you speak.
But imagine if everyone around you knew that it was great having you around, because every time you spoke, you generally encouraged others, built them up, and made life better all-round. And imagine how much better your own relationships and life would be!
That’s why you need to start making the unconscious, conscious. So, how can we start to move towards the ideal that the Apostle Paul sets before us? Here are some suggestions:
- Consciously reflect on your key conversations at the end of the day. If you keep a journal, do it in writing. Evaluate them against the checklist above.
- If you are brave enough, ask those you trust to give you feedback. Often, others see the real you better than you do.
- Ask God to reveal to you the effect that your words have on others, and how you can impact others positively others in the things you say, rather than your words having a discouraging effect.
Remember, when your talks builds others up, the one who will be built up the most will be you.
– Eliezer Gonzalez