I have a hard time holding my tongue when it comes to my immediate family. I’m quick to tell my husband or kids how I feel about their behavior or choices – I always seem to have an unsolicited opinion about how they are performing…uh, I mean living.
Even though I usually feel like my opinions are the standard, the reality is they are only feelings as defined through my own personal lens. The lens that each of us sees through is based on our personal background, temperament, upbringing, and belief system. It doesn’t make us right and the other person wrong, as no two people can see through the exact same lens.
Most of the time I’m not even showing empathy towards someone else’s lens or viewpoint, I’m just dictating what I think the best course of action should be, based on the course of action that I would have chosen (this is also commonly referred to as being a NAG).
Just because it’s my opinion, doesn’t mean it’s the truth. We’ve all heard the saying, that feelings are fleeting. How many times have we spurted out our opinions, only to regret our words just hours (or even minutes) later?
When I observe a choice made, an action performed, or a word spoken by someone close to me, I can be quick to offer judgement expressed through my raw feelings, usually not even laced in grace. And more times than not, I’m not speaking life into that person. A few months ago I blogged about the importance of speaking life or death – you can find that blog here. So does that make me a hypocrite? UGH!!
I’ve found whenever I express my personal feelings about the actions or behavior of someone within my circle of influence without carefully vetting my thoughts, nothing good usually comes from it.
Satan can twist our words – even though we are saying things one way, he can try to manipulate our message in the receiving person’s mind, only to have them process our words totally different than we intended. This is why Satan is called the Accuser of the Brethren. (Rev 12:10)
I can just hear him now in my husband’s ear: “Can you believe she said that? Man I wouldn’t take that if I were you. Another woman wouldn’t treat you that way or talk to you like that.”
Or in my daughters’ ears: “You’ll never please her, you’ll never be good enough.”
And I’ll admit, sometimes he’s in my ear: “They don’t deserve you. All that you do for them and no one even appreciates you. No one even said thank you.”
Once these accusations are planted in our minds, we may start turning against our family and friends, allowing ourselves to become offended by the accusations, usually which are misconstrued, giving us a warped view of what’s really going on.
Our minds are so powerful. We must be careful not to let them run away with the lies our accuser is feeding us – especially about those closest to us. Relationships with spouses/significant others, parents, children, co-workers, friends, etc. are being destroyed every day because of uncontrolled and unchecked feelings usually planted by the accuser.
Today’s Defensive Strategy gives us guidance on how to respond when the accusations start in our mind – we are to grab each negative thought by the throat, shut it down, and take it captive – to hand over to Jesus Christ.
When we hand these thoughts over to Jesus, He will redirect them, reminding us to base our thoughts on the truth of His Word, and not the ridiculous lies from our enemy.
So the next time you get a thought in your head, and you stand ready to accuse someone, instead of carelessly releasing that thought through your opinion, take it captive and determine if it’s life-giving truth, or if it should be turned over to Jesus to measure against the truth of His Word.
I’ll be practicing ways to capture my thoughts and control my words this week, and I hope you’ll join me. And just watch – our relationships will be blessed because of it!
Do you carelessly spew out the 1st thing that comes to your mind when interacting with others?
Are your words building people up or tearing them down?
In what ways can you monitor your thoughts before you put words to them, and release them into someone’s life?