How do we live in a way that the words we speak matter? Jesus says in Matthew, “You must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.” (12:36 NLT) Sometimes, for me anyway, it can be easy to get caught up in whining, complaining, or even gossip.
Someone recently asked me if I heard about a brewing coup in leadership. Yes, I had heard about it. From multiple people, actually. It’s so easy to offer an opinion on it, but what would be the purpose of talking about it? When talking with the people who asked the question, I tried to put my own opinion down, and turn the conversation around to the positive – by giving the leader the benefit of the doubt and point at his good qualities.
I feel there’s two important things here:
- The decisions we’re complaining about dishonors the people who are leading us. The decision I’m possibly criticizing or complaining about was planned by someone who has more facts than I do. This includes those who are in leadership. Remember, David killed the person who killed Saul, because God put Saul in his position as king (2 Samuel 1:14-16).
- Having an opinion is something we need to choose to lay down. Due to the Internet and social media, everyone feels they have to take a stance on everything. But, where is the line between taking a stance and loving and caring for people?
In all of this, I think Paul gave the antedote in Philippians, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (4:8 NIV) Being critical and complaining about stuff can hurt your heart. If not in the short-term, it definitely will long-term. Even listening to those who have strong opinions can. It can make you become cynical and bitter towards those who don’t think the same way you do. Perhaps most importantly, it can put you into a box where you, mistakenly, think your idea is better than others. That can hurt the people your serving, your leadership, and the people who are leading you.