Here, halfway through this month of writing on patience I can tell you that it’s hard for me to find words some days. It’s hard to draft these up and hit publish, sending my thoughts and pieces of my soul into the world – not know who is reading or who is caring.
Other days, it’s hard to fight the words. I listen to someone who asked me to just be a friend, just listen and I almost physically have to bite my tongue. Yes, sometimes advice is needed but sometimes you just need to be quiet.
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matt. 12:37
Ah there it is again – the whole you choose how this goes thing. I like to think of the Bible as a guidebook of sorts, but I envision it as one of those “choose your own adventure” types; you’re either in or you’re out, and each choice you make flips you to the corresponding scenario. As hard as the decision may be, what comes out of your mouth can make or break a person, a relationship or even you.
Look – who can say they’ve spent their whole life spouting words that ONLY bless people? I think maybe just Jesus, but even then I’m sure he got a bit cranky from time to time with his band of followers. (total blasphemy? maybe. but when I imagine Jesus as my friend, I think he’s a pretty relatable guy. I digress). At any rate, I can’t say that I only speak gracious and kind things all the time. I try? But just this morning, I can count at least 6 sentences that came out of my mouth that I promise Jesus wouldn’t have said. Including “I am about to go homicidal soon…..“-it’s a Monday, guys.
Here is what I’ve learned and what I try to practice:
- Speak your truths in love: If you have something to say to someone, whether it’s agreeing or disagreeing, the best way to do it is with a cloak of love. No harsh tone, no judgmental attitude, simply “here is what I think, the way I see it, and how I think I can help you through this.” NOTE I said your truths, not the truth. What is true for you is not necessarily true for everyone, so speaking it with love is a gentle way of helping, rather than a harsh (unneeded) judgement.
- Say only what needs to be said: If your words will not add positive ideas, humor or new information that is not mean to the conversation, don’t say them. Keep them in, swallow them down. You don’t want to be known as the person who says too many mean things in a day.
- Don’t be afraid to say it alone: There are many things we say in this life that will cause others to judge us, the easiest of which is probably Yes, I believe in Jesus. There may be a time where you are the only person saying that. Say it anyway. If you have a friend who needs to hear words that she won’t like, say it anyway. If there’s a kid who is getting bullied and you are the only person who doesn’t laugh with the bully, the only person who says stop, definitely say it anyway.
Aristotle said we are what we repeatedly do, and I think that stretches to cover we are what we repeatedly say, either in our own heads or through our mouths. If you look in the mirror and say “ew” every morning, you will project “ew” every day. If you walk into your office and say “hey guys, beautiful morning out there!”, you will project hey that guy knows how to live right. Ya dig? Soooo what’s the role that patience plays?
Maintain patience with yourself when you don’t say the right thing. Wait before reacting if you think someone else said the wrong thing. Don’t get angry when your truths don’t sit well with what others believe is right. Count to 3 before saying something mean – if you’re extra cranky, count to 33.
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:43-45
Finally, try to have a glad, grateful heart. Your mouth will produce better results that way. See you tomorrow and thanks for reading! We’re halfway through series and I appreciate your support/eyeballs.
Today is day fifteen of my 31 days of patience series. For all posts in the series, click here.