Speak kindly of others: please think before you speak

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As children we learned the rhyme: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me…,” first recorded in 1892 in The Christian Recorder, a publication of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

What children are taught in this rhyme is not to get involved in a physical or verbal altercation because someone has teased or taunted them; be the bigger person by just ignoring what has been said. However, that is not always easy to do. Therefore, we should make every possible effort to speak kindly of others, so please think first!

When you say something about someone, there are three things you should consider before even uttering the words: Is what I am about to say true? Is it kind? And is it going to help? If you cannot answer “yes” to all three of these questions, then it is better unsaid.

Passing on negative information about others is pure gossip, and it can defame their reputation, thus bringing about undeserved emotional hurt and pain. God addressed gossip in Proverbs 16:27 (KJV) when He said: “An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.”

Further, God’s word speaks very clearly about gossip and how it hurts others: “The words of a talebearer [a gossiper] are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly,” (Proverbs 18:8 KJV).

Consequently, if you should choose to engage in a conversation in the future that can be harmful to another, before you do so, think of this humorous short story, “Mildred, the Church Gossip,” by an unknown author. It has a profound message:

“Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extracurricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence. She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon.

“She emphatically told George and several others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing. George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing. Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house … and left it there all night!”

Hopefully, you caught the moral of the story. Always abound in the faith, and never leave home without Him

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