Have you ever considered the way you talk to yourself? Our “self-talk” is incredibly powerful in our lives. In normal conversation, the average person speaks approximately 125-150 words per minute. Our self-talk on the other hand can reach over 1500 words per minute. What we think about situations as they occur directly influence how we will react the next time a similar situation arises. For instance, if you have become close with someone and they somehow violate the trust you have grown to have in them, you might remind yourself regularly about it so as not to be hurt again. At first, this might seem like a wise reaction. However, if that sort of dialogue continues whenever you start to get close with someone again, you may be denying yourself a very fruitful friendship in the future.
Scripture is full of positive affirmations that are both encouraging and instructional. I know most of us do not walk around with negative thoughts all of the time, but they are there more than you think. This is especially the case if we have been hurt or disappointed by someone. There is a great passage that I’d like to share that works for many situations that have to do with relationships.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Eph. 4:2)
Just think of how many situations in your life could have played out differently (or better) if you had repeated that verse to yourself before speaking. Being humble isn’t always easy. Especially when we think we’re right. When Paul wrote this, Greek culture dictated that humility was a weakness only to be practiced by the slaves or destitute. But for Christians, it’s a virtue. We’ve all had times when we’ve been offended by someone and walked away with that offense sticking in our gut. We think things like “who does she think she is?”, or “he can’t talk to me that way”. All the while our self-talk is lifting our pride and creating a very unloving attitude. Then, the next time we have a similar situation, we’re defensive and possibly even rude. This is where gentle comes in.
Being gentle (or meek) is sometimes thought of as weakness, but it is not. It is the opposite of rudeness or harshness. It is having your emotions under control. There are times when we can feel angry, but we should not exhibit our anger in rudeness. With gentleness we can express our anger or frustration in a controlled, constructive manner. Without humility however, this is nearly impossible because our pride has been offended. Then there is patience.
Patience will enable us to allow the time necessary to pray, reflect, let things go, and simply give the other person a break. It is the part that gives any situation time to fully reveal itself. No jumping to conclusions, no sudden outbursts or quick minded resolutions that don’t really solve anything. Just patiently awaiting God’s input, which will be based in love.
Bearing with one another in love does not come naturally in the flesh. Using your self-talk to encourage yourself t0 treat others with love and respect as your daily worship to God will yield wonderful results. It will bring a sense of joy and fulfillment to all of your relationships and not only brighten your day, but others’ as well.
Have a great week and God bless you all.