We had just placed a “For Sale” sign in our front yard when a friend and neighbor said: “My, but you picked a bad time to put your house up for sale. Right around the block from you there are two houses that have been for sale for months. Houses here do not seem to be moving at all.”
Do remarks like these sound familiar? Do they remind you of things you have heard or said?
For instance, concerning the house—which was sold all in good time and to the satisfaction of everyone concerned—the thought planted by the negative remark did not make us happier or more relaxed about the whole transaction.
Perhaps as you read these words, you will think of times when you were guilty of speaking the wrong words or of saying something that did not add to a situation. Do not waste time and energy by going back in thought or wishing that you could retract your words. Rather, determine to start where you are and make the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart acceptable in God's sight.
Try starting your day with an idea, a word, a meditation that is positive, uplifting and inspiring.
Keep your ears open to the words you speak. Listen to them.
I tried it; I listened to myself one day from the first words I spoke in the morning until the last words I spoke that night. Even as I listened to myself, I became more aware of the tone and the inflection of the words themselves. In order to speak in the way I wanted to speak, to express the ideas I wanted to express, I needed to be certain of the meditations of my heart. I found that to pray about the words of my mouth was the best way to establish myself in a right way of speech.
God within you knows the sincerity of your heart and your true desire, and divine wisdom will give you the words to convey your ideas to others in ways which will not disturb or distress them, in ways which will not plant worry or doubt. When your words are constructive, you find that your reaction to them is constructive. If throughout the day you express only positive ideas through good words, the end of the day will find you feeling unsurpassably content. Why? Because in order to speak helpful words, you must first have constructive thoughts, and these have an inward influence as you voice them.
When I think of the importance of our words, I think of Jesus. The words that he spoke led others to follow Him, to leave their way of life and to live a better, more fruitful life. The words that he spoke brought a friend back to life. The words that he spoke fed the multitude. The words that he spoke gave a thief new hope. They must have been well-chosen, helpful, love-filled words. We could never think of the man Jesus as complaining, bemoaning his fate or gossiping.
Like Jesus, you can keep yourself in tune with God. You can learn to be patient with yourself; you can learn to watch and to listen. As you learn to center your thoughts in God, your words will be more loving, helpful, and constructive. To watch your words does not suggest that you must be tight-lipped and disapproving. Quite the opposite! You can be a person of understanding, a person who loves and enjoys others, a person who perceives the real, true selves of others.
As you watch your words, you will prove to yourself how much of God's goodness is in the world about you, in others—and how much of God's goodness is in you!