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Your Words Have Power, part 1

DSC_0553-Jeff_Robinett_blog_portrait“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  You’ve probably heard that expression. You may have even said it! Would you be surprised to learn it isn’t true? Words affect our lives a whole lot more than most of us think. The Bible agrees…

"The tongue has the power of life and death…”

– Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)

Insults hurt. Lies hurt. Sarcasm hurts. Complaining hurts. Complaining? Yes…complaining!  Stay with me and you’ll see why…

When you’re around people who gripe about everything, how do you feel? Are you happy? Does your mood improve? Probably not…unless you’re also a habitual complainer!

Unfortunately, I have a lot experience in this area. At one time, I complained about nearly everything. Funny thing is, I never thought of myself as a complainer. That is, until I started hanging around people who weren’t! Man, it was an eye opener!

At first, being with them was kinda weird. I’d complain about something and they would just smile and change the subject. Over time I realized that hanging out with my new friends was a lot of fun! They focused on the good in every situation. Even when they talked about serious topics their words were full of mercy and hope. Certainly a lot better than being around “the gripe squad.”

Complaining is a sure-fire way to ruin a relationship.  Don’t believe me? Try nitpicking every little thing and pointing out every little flaw. Fortunately, the opposite is true. You can improve relationships by complimenting instead of complaining, and pointing out things you like instead of those you don’t like. Give it a try and see!

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation.

– Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV)

Check out the words Paul used to describe complainers. Crooked. Depraved. Certainly NOT words I want people to use when talking about me!

Here are a couple of things to help you control your complaining:

First: hang out with positive people.

Some of us are prone to seeing negative things, even in positive situations. There can be a hundred “right” things, but we can’t see them because of one thing that’s “wrong!”

The solution is simple: surround yourself with positive people. Listen and watch what they do! Learn from their approach. Before long you’ll begin seeing good things in every situation.

As a recovering complainer I’d like to offer a tip: set boundaries with people who haven’t found the freedom you’re moving into.  I found It’s easy to slip back into old habits if I’m around them too long. Paul addressed my situation perfectly when he wrote:

Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character.

– 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)

Second: Speak words of life.

Your words hold the power of life…or death!  Which will you choose?

I’m always amazed at how positive and encouraging the first followers of Jesus were…even in the worst situations. Here’s one of many examples from book of Acts:

After Paul and Silas came out of prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them.

– Acts 16:40 (NIV)

These men were falsely accused, beaten, and illegally thrown into jail…and when they were released they went to encourage others!

I’ve often wondered if I could have done that! It would have been hard, given my natural tendencies. My only hope would be to do what they did: let the Holy Spirit heal my offended heart and speak encouragement through me.

Before closing I’d like to offer a challenge we can take together. Let’s go one day without complaining. For an entire day speak only words of life. Let every word you speak be positive and encouraging.

If you blow it…don’t get down on yourself or quit. Realize what’s happened, start again, and ask the Holy Spirit to help! At the end of the day you’ll be amazed at the difference!

I’ll share my experience next week. Would you do me a favor…and share yours? I’d love to hear what happened!

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