2) Practice a more direct approach to expressing your displeasure. Posing a simple question designed to gain a better understanding will go a long way. For example, rather than asking “What in the world were you thinking?” try, “What strategy or goal did you have in mind when you made that move?” This latter statement expresses confidence that surely some forethought was applied. God will give you the right words to say if you ask him to do so. “…those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right, for there is a time and a way for everything…) (Ecclesiastes 8:5-6 NLT).
3) Consider the implications and consequences of what you are about to say before you say it. Ask yourself, “Will my words imply that the hearer is stupid or has poor judgment? Do they tear down or do they build? “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV). Make sure every word passes the “benefit” test.
4) Consider how you would feel if someone were to say to you, what you are about to say to another. Let the Golden Rule be your guide!
Father, I need wisdom in becoming more sensitive to what I say to others. Teach me how to be more accepting of other people’s shortcomings just as you are accepting of mine. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
*Adapted from Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life by Deborah Smith Pegues (available April 1, 2014) (Harvest House Publishers)