Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
As a high school teacher, I have the unique experience of being able to see the similarities of behaviors in both children and adults. One area that is always troublesome to me is when I hear teen girls say that they don’t get along with females, so they only hang with “guys.” They justify this detachment from girls because they have experienced backbiting and criticism that led to hurt feelings. Unfortunately, these same hurt feelings continue into womanhood and walls are built up because someone has spewed words of negativity.
I have also witnessed teenage girls being the perpetrators of talking about others in a negative way. After chastising them for their behavior, I always hope that they will not continue on that path of negativity. Unfortunately, many of them do not mature in that area, but eventually those same attributes follow them into adulthood.
If we self-reflect, we can all probably say that during our Christian journey, we have experienced both sides of the negativity. Either we have said things that were not edifying to others or we have heard people say negative things about us. In both experiences, there are consequences. When we tear down others with our words, we are not allowing God’s spirit to lead and guide us in truth and righteousness. Thus, we listen to the voice of the enemy. When we are victims of backbiting, it can cause our hearts to be hardened, so that we cannot recognize unconditional love when it is shown. This is harmful because it stunts our spiritual growth and it causes us to be disconnected to the body of Christ.
So, I challenge you today. Are you on one side of this battle today? Or, are you dealing with the consequences of the behavior? We must ask God to search our heart, so that we do not become guilty of unwholesome conversations that do not edify others. God must also reveal to us if we are harboring feelings of hurt and bitterness from negative comments. If left unresolved, it is difficult to sustain healthy relationships with others and it will affect the mission that God has destined for us.
Prayer Starter: Lord please guard our mouths today! Help us not to fall into the temptation of speaking negativity. Let our lips only edify and not cause harm to others. Give us the mind of Christ, so that the enemy will not cause us to stumble with our tongue. With our mouths we will bless your name, so that others will declare your glory. Amen