healing

Training Your Tongue: Tips for Targeting the Truth with Tact

Y’all. The mouth is wicked.

My mouth is wicked!

I say things to people sometimes and use the excuse that my actions are permissible because, hey, I’m just telling the truth! 

NOPE.

BLESS MY LITTLE HEART

Remember that old saying about the truth setting you free? Well, in this case, let’s replace that with: The truth, told in an uncontrolled manner, hurts people. 

Just because we think we know a few “facts” does not give us permission to state “facts” in the “raw.” 

This is NOT how you reach people!

Also, if you are not careful, your testimony and character could be at stake! The good news here is that there is another way. A way in which you can say things honestly, yet gently.

Let’s talk about what gentle means: 

kind, not severe, rough or violent

I always pride myself on being a person who looks at facts and data to make good  decisions. Heck, the door of my office has a sticker that says “I LOVE DATA.” 90% of my day at work consists of reviewing data to drive instruction. 

Facts point towards reality and I guess you could say that I am a realist? The verdict is still out on this although I know for sure I am a lover of learning. And this is a lesson to be learned my friend! 

Facts are great, for me

But, people thrive on facts, right? You know, not everyone does. 

Believe it or not, some people can’t face facts. This is precisely why it is important for information to be presented in a consumable way. Failure to communicate properly might result in terrible consequences. 

For a while I  would reaffirm the way I was speaking to others by reminding myself that these things were TRUTH. I told myself the lie that if I don’t say what I mean, I would be doing folks a disservice. Um, since when did I become THE distributor of truth? Oh, here is another good one: “people need to hear the truth.” 

When we were little we were rewarded for telling the truth! Right!?! Well…somebody owes me a whole chocolate factory!

I’m really good at facts (it’s my job, remember). Most of the time I have proof to back up what I dish out (dang, I should have been a lawyer). Anyway, after two different people shared with me that my “facts” hurt their feelings, I challenged myself to take a step back in order to observe my behavior.

Within a two month span I slowly began to realize my harsh facts hurt feelings. I mean, I didn’t scream or yell or any of that. I didn’t lie. What I was doing though, was ruining relationships…relationships that I worked hard to build. Relationships I cared about were on the line! I mean, I love, cherish, respect, and highly value the people I hurt! What was I doing?

The situation led me to pray. During my prayer time it was revealed to me that I was wrong. I prayed about both issues and concluded that I had to go and apologize to each of these people in person. I WAS WRONG. 

I have character traits that still need work!

Although I did go and make it right, it still happened. You can’t erase words once they have escaped your mouth. That is why it is important for us to train our tongue! 

I was so convicted. Well, wait. In all honesty I was mad, actually. Then I was convicted. After I had a chance to think about it all, I was only mad because my friends were absolutely right!

Have you had a situation come up recently where you were wrong and you knew it? Fixing this type of situation is not a very fun process. You might even shed a few tears, but in the end, it will be for the best! 

Oh, by the way, if you have not made your situation right, what are you waiting for?

Reflection:

I was not as “in the clear” as I kept telling myself…and looking in the mirror is no fun.

The process of identifying wicked ways is not an easy process! I know God is revealing to me the character flaws I have, which will eventually transform me to become more like Him. For that, I am thankful! I want to be like Him more than anything, so I am so happy the Spirit is working on me.

Do you want to be more like Him? It might be time to think about training your tongue! Here is a quick process for righting your wrongs:

What does the Bible say?

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1 NLT

Action Steps:

STEP 1: PRAY

Pray about every situation and be sure to go and make things right. Do this sooner rather than later! 


Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for pointing out the things in my character that I need to work on. Reveal to me the things I need to change in order to be just like You. Help me to make things right when I mess up, and give me the courage to apologize in order to restore my relationships with the people I care about. 

STEP 2: REFLECT

 What could you have done differently? How could you have said what you needed to say in a gentle way?  Do you even need to say anything at all? Sometimes in the heat of the moment we say and do things that come out way worse than we intend. I urge you to think things through. 

STEP 3: PLAN

Do not walk into a firing hole! Set yourself up for success in this endeavor. Plan out your thoughts and decide how you want to rectify your wrong. This should go without saying, but you need to include the words “I am so sorry” in your plan. Apologize. Seems elementary right? Trust me, acknowledging you have made a mistake can go a long way.

STEP 4: ACT

Go do the right thing. If it is appropriate, hug the person and maybe give a peace offering…I like to give chocolate. In this case I even gave my friends a handwritten note that explained to them how much they meant to me which was in addition to a personal apology.

What are you waiting for? Ask God to show you your heart and to refine it daily in order to make you more like Him. I can’t promise you that things will work out in your favor, but I do know that you will leave with peace, and that my friends, is priceless.

Paying it Forward,

Sherrie