This blog is the 4th in a series on Relationship Rescue. What are the 10 most important New Testament principles for healthy relationships?
#3: Thou shalt cultivate the discipline of constructive silence. One of my life verses is Proverbs 25:11. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” There’s only one way to cultivate powerful, valuable words like that. You have to edit your thoughts; refuse to say everything that comes into your head; and train yourself to say the right words at the right moment. But in a world whose slogan is “If it feels good, do it,” many of us have come to believe that it’s important to always say what’s on your mind. It felt good to Osama Bin Laden, too, until he heard the Navy Seals charging up the stairs!
Here are some deadly phrases to avoid if you want to build healthy, lasting friendships. Couples preparing for marriage or building a family should also steer clear of these words. On the other hand, if you’d really rather be a bomb thrower, and you enjoy blasting other people out of your life, these phrases are better than C-4. Toss em and run!
- “I think it’s time we should clear the air!” It’s strange how frequently people fall back on this tactic. What we suppose we’re doing is laying all the puzzle pieces on the table so we can construct a solution. But what this really means is that I’m tired of carrying toxic ideas in my head and I would rather relieve my stress than protect this relationship.
- “You don’t want to hear this, but…” If someone doesn’t want to hear your opinion on some aspect of his life, why do you insist on sharing it- especially when you are most likely angry? Parents sometimes have the right to impose their opinions and beliefs on their children. But generally speaking, before you can do this to another adult, you need the other person’s permission.
- “The problem with you is…” Well, maybe it’s the other person’s problem. Or maybe it’s just your insecurity. Never bring up an error or deficiency in someone else’s life unless a) you’re certain you’re correct about this, and b) you have the other adult’s permission to talk about it. Even then, don’t introduce it with this toxic expression.
Edit your thoughts. And rely on Paul’s general rule of thumb for godly thoughts and conversations. It’s found in Philippians 4:8- “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” If you’re tempted to talk about anything other than that with someone you love, let the Holy Spirit sift it carefully before you serve it. When in doubt, just don’t say it. Silence is money.
Lift up the Cross!