One of the greatest areas of change in my personal life in 2014 has been in the area of my speech, and that is also the reason why I have been passionate in investing my time and effort into this series. All the blog posts in the series have been more or less notes to myself.
In this journey, God also taught me a few important lessons on how to correct people. We’ve had to deal with all sorts of issues, starting from discussions between my wife and me, to family, church and other places. I have learnt that I cannot run away from confronting or correcting people. However, there is a proper, biblically prescribed way for doing it. I endeavour to expound on that in this post.
These are two scriptures on which we will be working on to come to develop inferences.
James 1:19 NLT
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
Ephesians 4:15 NLT
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
Quick to Listen
The more we are open to listen to someone, the easier it is for us to understand their heart. Bible expects us to be quick listeners, instead of being quick speakers. Be generous in your willingness to hear the other person out before you give your opinion or correct him/her. Listening will not only give you a clearer picture of what is happening, but also will give the other person more clarity in their mind, will allow the person the chance to open up and pour out.
Even if the other person is speaking lies, or is not willing to open up, you still need to give the person a chance to speak, with your ears and heart open, before you pass your judgement or decision on the same.
Slow to Speak
Here comes the golden rule to help you in Taming Your Tongue, especially if you have a problem with your speech and the words you use. Reduce your rate of speech! That will allow you so much of time to process the information and the emotions going through your mind and heart. Don’t feel obliged to reply to every question or accusation you are faced with, immediately. That’s what the enemy tries to get us to do, He will try to push us into speaking quick and thus the wrong, hurtful and vengeful things in the process.
Hence, the Bible’s advice: Be slow to speak!
Slow to become Angry
Your words have the power to create or dispel your anger. If you are quick to speak, you will be quick to get angry. If you are slow to speak, you will be slow in getting angry. People often confuse it to be the other way. But that’s not true. You lead your emotions with your words, if you chose to take time to think and process and then speak, then the chances of being controlled by momentary outbursts of anger is pretty less.
Its perfectly ok for people to see you as a dumb and slow reactive person, in order for you to be able to obey this word. In fact this will be harder for people who have extrovert temperaments. However, everything is possible as long as you live in submission to God’s Spirit. The Spirit enables and strengthens you to live the kind of lifestyle that the Word of God prescribes for us.
Respond in Love
Well, it’s not enough that you be slow to speak, it is necessary that when you speak, you do with a lot of love. It is, of course, necessary that you be speaking the truth. It is necessary that all your correction is based on the truth of God’s word, the truth of present circumstance, or the truth that has been revealed to you by the Lord. But if you’re not able to communicate the same truth in love, it is only going to hurt people, thus closing their heart to the truth even before the see it.
Is it important that we be speaking the truth? Yes, but it’s equally important that the truth be sandwiched in loads of agape love, so the person doesn’t get buried under a burden of guilt and self condemnation that comes from exposure to the truth.
Most importantly, seek to be like Jesus. Was He gentle in His corrections? Yes. Look at how He corrected the women caught in adultery. Was Jesus harsh in His corrections? At times, yes! The beauty of Jesus’ life is the way in which He balanced his love and truth. Jesus never shyed away from the truth, yet He was the impersonation of the love of God! We cannot ever resort to either without the other, if you are loving but have no truth in your words, then you are being compromising, like many do under the pretext of being graceful.
The more we desire to walk like Jesus, the more we imitate His heart and lifestyle, the more we are led by His Spirit, the more will we have tongues that are tamed for the glory of God!
Do share your heart with us here. Have you felt correction to be heavy? Have you struggled in trying to correct someone? How has this post helped you?