Season: 2 Episode: 018
Summary: Life-giving words cost us nothing but words that hurt cost more than we want to pay. For some reason, we are drawn to negativity more than the words that edify. Today we evaluate the source of our words and why it’s necessary to ask God to transform our hearts before He can transform our speech.
“The source of your words is your heart”
“Your words reveal what your heart is made of”
“If it’s not your story to tell then it’s gossip.”
“Don’t disguise gossip as prayer requests.”
“God has to change the core of us before He can change our speech.”
Blog: Dirty Little Words
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Welcome back, my friend. You are listening to episode 18: 7 ways your tongue destroys your relationships.
Before we get into today’s show, I want to read a review from a listener. It says, “Thank you, Shanda, for sharing your heart and always pointing us to the Bible for truth. Love listening to you share what God has put on your heart. It always seems to be just what I needed to hear!”
That is from Gale Simpson and I want to thank you so much for leaving that review.
Also, if you wouldn’t mind leaving me a star rating and a review today, I would so appreciate it because that is how iTunes helps get the podcast in front of others.
Ok. So now it is time to get into the nitty gritty of todays show topic. And this is a big one. So, the history behind this episode is that a few months ago I was searching something on YouTube (can’t remember what it was right now), and I saw this Ted Talk by Julian Treasure: How to speak so that people want to listen … and it fascinated me.
I don’t know if this man is a Christian or not, but much of what he said can be traced back to the Bible. So, I did a little digging. And I am going to leave the YouTube link in the show notes and when you have a chance, please check it out. It’s that good and I wouldn’t waste your time or mine if I didn’t feel like it had value.
We all know and have heard that our words have power. I truly believe that. The bible tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. We don’t realize that our words kill reputations, self-esteem, unity within other relationships, etc.
Our words also have the power to give hope, encouragement, keep someone from giving up, ignite the light of confidence in someones soul. And the best thing about our words is that the good ones … the uplifting, life giving, encouraging words that help others cost us absolutely nothing.
When you think of it that way, why not speak them?
But the words that hurt do cost. They cost us friendships, reputations and have so many other consequences.
So since season
2 has everything to do with relationships, I want to dive into this deeper and shed some light on our words. I hope I can do it in 15 minutes. If not, I’ll keep recording and we’ll split it and I’ll deal with my podcast schedule that I already created later (haha).
What are we going to get into today:
1) Why are words powerful?
2) Where do our words come from? Everything has a source. What is the source of our words?
3) What are the 7 ways our tongue destroys our relationships?
So, let’s get into the first question ..Why are our words powerful?
I always think it’s fascinating that when you go back to Genesis we see God created our entire world by speaking it into existence. This is where we first see the power of words.
Gen 1:3, God said, “Let there be light.” Then He named the day and night.
In verse 6 God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” Then He named the expanse heaven.
In verse 9 God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.” Then God called the dry land earth and the waters He called seas.
I’m not going to go through every day of creation, but I want to start with the power of our words by really understanding that God used words to create and then He became more intimately acquainted with His creation by naming it.
And then, as we get into chapter 2, we see God gave Adam authority and with that authority, Adam named the animals.
There are so many examples of the power of words in God’s word and realistically, they are at the foundation of our existence.
But I also want to bring you some practical examples today and not only biblical examples because we will get into both as we go along. And you don’t have to be a Christian to know that words are powerful.
Everywhere you go to search the impact of words we will all agree that they have power. But, God wrote the book on the effects of words first.
It’s a proven fact that negative words are what we cling to over positive words. Our human nature sways towards the negative and it takes effort to bring it back to what God says about us. That’s why that Hillsong worship song “I Am Who You Say I Am” hits home with so many.
According to the Harvard Business Review, it takes 5 positive comments to override one negative. It’s called “The Ideal Praise to Criticism Ratio”. So think of that the next time you throw out a negative.
lifesourcecoaches.com says it take 7 positive comments to outweigh a negative.
Whether it’s 5 or 7, we can see that negativity is what we cling to.
Dr Jack Schafer from Psychology Today says this and I agree wholeheartedly, “Words cannot change reality, but they can change how people see reality.”
Here are some examples:
1) If someone tells you they don’t like someone before you’ve had a chance to meet them, you can’t help but form an opinion about that person.
2) If someone tells you they like a restaurant, you’re more likely to go try it because of their good experience. By the way, word of mouth is the #1 form of advertisement because people trust the opinions of other people.
Whether we like it or not, words have powerful effects on us. What do most kids complain about at school? Isn’t it almost always what someone else said about them?
Words are important to God. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”
God wants us to speak with purpose. He doesn’t want us speaking empty and useless words. I said it on the podcast episode about love that words mean nothing if the action doesn’t follow. Why? Because this verse tells us our words must reflect our beliefs and our beliefs will reflect our actions.
Our words hold power because they fall on the hearts of the hearer. We are spiritual beings created by a God who spoke things into existence … even the dust He used to form mankind. And then, that same God gave man the authority over the earth.
And not only that, in chapter 2 of Genesis, God gave man the word to hold onto so that He would not die … the commandment.
Words are powerful because they take us back to our origin and they resonate with the spirit inside of us.
That old saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” … it was a nice comeback in kindergarten but it’s a complete lie.
Words can hurt, wound and scar if they are not used the way God intended. And we’re going to get specific with the kinds of words we speak .. such as gossip, negativity, lying, etc when we get into the 7 ways our tongues destroy relationships later on.
2) Where do our words come from? Now, I know I explained that God spoke everything into existence but I mean where do your words come from when you’re angry, frustrated, hurt, overjoyed?
What is the source of our negative and positive words?
In Matthew 15 Jesus was talking to His disciples about what truly defiles a man. The Pharisees were offended that Jesus said in verse 12, “It is not what enters the mouth that defiles a man, but what proceeds out of the mouth.”
The Pharisees were so concerned with keeping the law and eating with washed hands and making sure they didn’t eat unclean animals that they lost the entire point. It’s not about the appearance it’s about the heart.
And in verse 19 of that same chapter, Jesus described the things that come out of the heart: thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
We may think the source of our words is our mouth but Jesus just told us the source is our hearts.
I’ve always said, if you watch and listen to people long enough they give themselves away with how they act and what they say. Everything we do is a reflection of the heart. If our words are unwholesome then the heart is sick.
James 3:3-6 takes it further and explains the effects of the tongue. “The tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.”
If anything in our lives is going to destroy our relationships it’s our mouths.
I love the book of James. It’s written by Jesus’ brother and the man doesn’t pull any punches. He’s a straight shooter.
He says in James 1:26, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.”
Here again, we see we can fool ourselves by saying we belong to God yet we don’t have control over our tongues. This goes back to love as well. If you love someone, you won’t want to talk bad about them. You’ll encourage and build up. So, are the source of our words out of a heart of love for the person?
We can vow all we want to speak kind words. We can make a pact to encourage others and break bad habits we’ve gotten into with our words. But, if we do not ask God to change our hearts, we’re not dealing with the source of the problem.
3) And finally, what are the 7 ways our tongues destroy relationships?
- Gossip. Talk about a relationship killer. I’m going to be very transparent here and tell you I’ve always struggled with this. This is something I had to ask God to really deal with me about. Gossip is terrible for the speaker and the listener.
It destroys reputations. It separates friends. There are so many verses on gossip in the bible but here are a few that tell us the consequences of gossip.
Prov 16:28, “A perverse person stirs up conflict and a gossip separates close friends.” You can literally cause relationships to disintegrate by gossiping about other people. I’ve had to ask my own friends to please stop gossiping to me about others. And in reality, if they’re talking to me about someone else, they’re talking to someone else about me. That’s not really a friend.
Prov 11:13, “A gossip betrays a confidence.” When you’re a gossip, you can’t be trusted. If someone comes to you and says, “Hey, don’t tell anybody but …” more than likely too many people already know what you’re about to hear.
Sometimes people will ask, “How do I know if it’s gossip?” I can tell you an easy way to remember … if it’s not your story to tell, don’t tell it. I’ve lived and learned and I can tell you it’s better to have a few friends than a large circle that talks about everyone.
Don’t disguise your gossip as prayer requests, a caring heart or concern. Just stay out of it. Also, Conversation Peace by Mary A. Kassian is an amazing study I did and it will transform your heart that will in turn transform your speech. I’ll link it in the show notes for you.
2) Judging. Now, I did a podcast episode on judging others in season 1 and what I mean by this is don’t go around telling other people how to live their lives. If someone isn’t making unbiblical decisions then leave them alone.
All too often, we want to tell people our opinions or condemn others. That’s not your business. If you want to hear more about judging others, go back to episode 8 and listen to that one.
3) Complaining. Oh, man. This is one I struggle with a lot and have to be so self aware because I can do this and not realize it until I annoy myself. This is one that chips away at us slowly. Have you ever invited someone to dinner and they complain about the restaurant? Or you ask someone how they’re day is going and something is always wrong? It gets old.
If complaining is constant, then the person must be lacking joy. Or they want attention from the pain they feel from their lives. James 5:9 says, “Do not grumble against one another.” Other verse in Proverbs tell us people don’t want to be around argumentative and complaining people.
4) Lying. Proverbs 6 tells us 7 things the Lord hates and one of them is lying. I am right there because I hate lying. I feel like once someone lies to you the trust is gone.
Lying destroys relationships because 1 Peter 3:10-11 tells us if we want to see good days we need to keep our tongues from evil and our lips from lying. Truthfulness is something that relationships are built on. It is a pillar, especially when that truth is God’s word.
5) Stirring up strife: If you only want to be right or get the last word in, you will lose people in your life. Love isn’t about being right. It’s about righting the relationship. Another one of those things God hates in Proverbs 6 is those who stir up contention or strife. They don’t really want to remove the issues. They want to be right and argue. This is like keeping a record of wrongs. Again, it’s not showing love.
6) Negativity. 1 These 5:11 tells us to encourage one another and build each other up. Negativity only brings others down. It’s like a weight that causes everyone else to have to always pick up and drag you along. That’s OK sometimes, but it can’t be all the time.
Also, gossip is negative and so is complaining. These things can weigh heavily on the hearer too and before long they are separating themselves. Also, did you know you can withhold encouragement when you know you should give it? That’s also negativity but in reverse. Instead of speaking it, we don’t speak encouragement and our silence is just as detrimental because the Bible specifically tells us to encourage one another daily while it is called today.
Again, the root of encouragement is love and it goes back to the heart.
7) And finally, one of the last parts of our speech that kills relationships is silence. Yes, I know we’re talking about words but do you know the lack of our words kills relationships. When we don’t sit down and have honest conversations about conflict. Like I mentioned before, when we withhold encouragement. When we stop communication and distance the gap between anger and frustration without resolving it.
God is serious about relationships.
He is also very serious about how we use our words. Jesus tells us that we are to go to our brother or sister in Christ and talk to them about the problem (Matt 18:15-17). He also said if you know your brother is angry with you, go and talk to them.
How many people will actually do that AND be honest?
If you truly care about the relationship you will go and work it out and have some hard conversations that RIGHT the relationship.
I’ve done this before in my life with relationships I’ve tried to salvage. To be honest, it hasn’t always gone well and I’ve lost friends because they won’t be honest and get to the heart of the problem. And after a couple of times of trying, I give them to the Lord and walk away.
So yes, my own friendships have been destroyed because of a lack of honesty and conversation. They really do go hand in hand.
What’s our responsibility in all of this? What does God expect from us in our relationships and our words?
- Evaluate you heart before the Lord. Lately, I’ve asked God to search me and know me .. to see if there is anything in my heart that I cannot see is hindering my relationship with Him and others.
God is really good about getting to the heart of the issues because the source of our words is our heart. He has to fix the core of us before we can change our speech.
2) We cannot have both muddy water and clean water coming out of the same pie hole, people.
That’s in the bible, I just reworded it a bit. If we say we belong to God, our words must set us apart from the rest of the world. Ask God to change your speech.
3) God is all about relationships.
Remember that good, encouraging and uplifting words cost us nothing. I believe one day when we stand before God He will ask us why we didn’t use them to encourage others more along the way. And we can all use a good word, can’t we?
That’s all the time we have for today’s episode. I hope my words encourage you and that you know how much I appreciate you listening to the podcast. Until next week, I pray your words impact, influence and impart wisdom to the hearer.
And I’ll catch you on the next one, my friend.