Communication has existed from the beginning of time, and likely even before. But what we know of it began when God created everything, through speech. He simply spoke and it all came into being. God used communication to construct, and he wants us to do likewise.
Through it he created a safe place, provided for his creature’s needs, and set protective boundaries. There was no negativity. That entered only after Adam and Eve decided to stray from his good ways through disobedience.
Then everything took on negative aspects, even communication. And we see these from the early chapters of Genesis onward, with blame-passing, anger, evasion, and lying. In many ways communication has become more complex, but it still adds up to a transmission of thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
The problem is that it’s much more natural and easier for us to use our tongues (whether directly in speech, or indirectly through writing, facial expressions, and body language) as slashing weapons, than to use them as constructive tools.
So the question is how can we learn to use our tongues as tools of edification?
Christ taught that we speak out of the abundance of our hearts. From it comes either good or evil, love or hate. Care and kindness of others, or mean-spirited treatment. I don’t think any of us really want to be mean, uncaring people.
Yet when we neglect our hearts, that’s exactly how they can become. It all boils down to how we fill them.
In moments of extreme anger or frustration) we don’t usually have the presence of mind to stop and think clearly. And we end up spewing our negativity onto others. So let’s look at 4 simple truths that can help us turn our tongues into building tools!
4 principles for taming the tongue into a positive, constructive force.
1. See others through Christ’s eyes.
Seeing them through his eyes means seeing them through the eyes of his abundant love, which can teach us how to love in the same way. And from that abundance in our hearts, real love can begin to flow out to them.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another.” – John 13:34 WEB
2. Take in wholesome communication.
Communication comes in many forms. Speech, the written word, transmissions, and internet. And as the saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Much of what is out there in films, books, programming, social media, and internet is filled with negativity. Things that criticize and tear others down.
But by ensuring that even our entertainment focuses on all that is true, honorable, just, pure, and lovely – that’s what our hearts will be filled with. We will think lovely thoughts – even of others – and be more likely to construct and edify, not cut down or criticize.
“Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8
3. Remember all that Christ has done for you and forgiven you of.
Recalling how much Christ has forgiven us and how much love he has showered on us, makes it that much easier to treat others with kindness, mercy, and forgiveness.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” –Ephesians 4:32 WEB
4. Don’t think too highly of yourself.
Criticism often stems from our own pride or insecurity. Wanting or needing to feel better about ourselves, we sometimes cut others down. But that will only make us feel worse, not better. For deep down we know we’ve done wrong. And have become not a better person, but a worse one.
In Christ, we are all equal, all needing his love, grace, and forgiveness. Seeing ourselves on an equal plane with others, is a great leveler of both pride and self-worth. And it can grant us the wisdom of seeing that others often struggle with the same things.
So when you feel either pride slipping in, or insecurity damaging your self-worth – find someone you can compliment or encourage, instead of focusing on your own woes.
“In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate to one another; in honor preferring one another.” – Romans 12:10 WEB