Tag Archives: Words

Should You Say That?

More and more people are sharing their thoughts and feelings on the internet. In some ways, this is good. There are more discussions happening. However, in some ways, people have forgotten that there is a real live human on the other side of that computer screen and perhaps not all things should be shared. I have a feeling many things would not be said if you were face to face with that person.

So how do you know if you should share something? Or how should you share something? For example, a topic has been brought up that you’re passionate about and want to leap in with your side of the argument. Or you’re tired of all the rants, and so you want to go on your own. What kind of filter should we use, not only on the internet, but with the people around us?

A friend of mine shared his thoughts with my husband and me a few weeks ago and I was blown away by his wisdom (and so that I’m not completely ripping his idea off, Jason Fortriede came up with this first and really needs to write all those books he has ideas for!).

I loved what he had to say and started applying it immediately with my kids. You know how family can be, especially between brothers and sisters. You’re not always kind to one another and say stuff that perhaps should have been filtered. Here are the three things you should ask yourself before you speak or write, and if all 3 apply, go ahead and say it (or write it). If they don’t, stop. Just stop and think about it. You might save yourself and others a lot of grief. Here you go:

Is it truthful?

Is it helpful?

Is it kind?

I’ve heard people say, “It’s the truth.” Sure, it’s the truth, and you just used the truth like a 2×4 to hit someone across the head. Ouch. I don’t think they heard the truth. They just feel the pain from the bludgeon. If it’s truthful, is it helpful right now? If not, stop. Sharing that the widow’s husband was a jerk at his funeral is just a stupid place to share the truth (I’m exaggerating on my example).

Let’s say it’s truthful and helpful, but is it kind? Telling someone, “You’re breath smells like a dog,” before his first date might be truthful and helpful, but certainly not kind. Two out of three is still not enough. Maybe try this: “Hold on, your breath needs a little work. Here’s some gum. I want you to make the best first impression you can on this date.” Bingo! Truthful, helpful, and delivered in a kind way.

But what about being kind, but it’s not true? You know, a little lie to make the person feel better? And it’s helpful, too 🙂

No, no, no. If I found out someone said something nice to make me feel better, but it wasn’t true, I would not believe any other nice things they said. You want people to know you are genuine and truthful in your statements. If it’s not true, don’t say it.

But mom, what if they ask me a question like do I like their picture and I hate it? What do I do?

You can always find something truthful and positive to say to someone, even if you don’t  like their house in Minecraft (yeah, that example is for my kids). Here’s an marriage example: “Honey, does this dress look good on me?” No, not at all. But the color does bring out her eyes. Don’t say yes and lie about it. Instead, say “I love the color, but the style doesn’t quite suit you. Let’s see if we can find something in the same color.” Bingo. All three: truthful, kind, and helpful.

See how much of a difference these three questions can make in our daily interactions, both in the physical world and in the cyber world? So the next time you’re wondering if you should answer someone who just posted on Facebook “The 49er’s stink,” ask yourself if your answer is truthful, kind, and helpful. Instead of “Yes!”, say, “They had a hard season, but there is always next year.” Or just don’t answer it at all. See what I mean? 😉

I can tell you this is already changing the way my family interacts with each other. My kids are asking each other if their comments are truthful, helpful, AND kind. Our words have power. Let’s think about them before we use them.



I refuse to be Bullied

I wrote this post a couple weeks ago, but couldn’t quite hit the publish button. It is hard to share when I feel vulnerable. After I tucked this post away, the topic of cyberbullying started popping up all over, both in my real life and cyber life. I realized I needed to share because people need to know it is okay to say no, to delete that comment, to walk away from that conversation.

I am generally a quiet, patient person. But lately what I have seen on both social media and online games has made me cringe. It would seem people no longer care about their words. They fling them out across cyberspace like darts, hitting anyone that comes by. They belittle, demean, and use sarcasm as a way to get their point across. People are using words as a weapon. And unlike a real weapon, words leave deep wounds that people may never see.

Usually I let people comment on facebook and on my own website. I am open to people disagreeing with me. And the majority of the time the people I interact with know how to disagree in a respectful way. Then one day someone left a comment on a topic I shared on Facebook. I let it sit there. After all, they have the right to disagree with me. But the way they said it was not nice and not at all respectful. Finally, I removed the comment, the first one I have ever removed.  Why? Because this person wasn’t simply disagreeing with me. They were using their words to belittle me. That’s when I said no more. I refuse to be used that way. I refuse to allow someone to tear me down in order to build up their own idea.

I refuse to be bullied.

And I refuse to watch others be bullied.

As a writer, I understand the power of words. One word can shatter a person’s soul. It can lodge inside a person’s heart and mind until the day he or she dies. Yet on the internet we have no problem saying things that I doubt many of us would ever say if we were face to face with that person. Or if we did, we would immediately see the hurt we had inflicted.

I no longer remain silent when I see people ganging up on another person in cyberspace. I carefully choose my words and say something. I stick up for the person being beat over the head with words. Because if I don’t, then who will?

And I will no longer allow comments to remain on my Facebook page or website that tear either myself or other people down. I will not bully others, nor will I participate by remaining quietly on the sidelines.  It stops here, with me.

My friends, do not let other people tear you down. There is a respectful way to disagree with people, and then there is simple bullying to get you to join their side. You can delete the comment. You can leave the conversation. You can close the account. You are not what other people say about you. Let me say that again: You are not what other people say about  you. You are not stupid. You are not a whore. You are not ugly. You are not lazy. You are not a noob.

You are a unique person, created in the image of God who loves you. Your soul matters so much more than your body. You have the potential to change the world simply by allowing God to transform you from the inside out.

You do not need to let other people stomp all over you with their words. You have the power to walk away.

The moment I realized this a couple weeks ago, I found freedom. I was not chained to that comment. And neither are you.

I refuse to be bullied. How about you?

Words of Life, Words of Death

I stood there and watched my son’s face deflate. In less than a second, my words had shot across the room, hit him in the chest, and let all the joy out of his soul. I wanted to take back what I had said, but there is nothing in this world that can stop a speeding word. All I could do was witness the damage I had done.

Ever done that?

This verse has been on my mind lately: “The tongue can bring life or death…” (Proverbs 18:21a). Am I pouring life into a person through my words? Or am I pouring bitter death?

You know that feeling, when a person pours life into you. Encouraging words, uplifting words, words that give you enough energy to move on, to take that next step. Your soul feels refreshed and ready to face the world again.

And I’m sure you know what deathly words feel like: disheartening, gut wrenching, like you were just stabbed in the chest and left on the ground. Instead of feeling empowered, everything looks dark and discouraging. And you can’t get those words out of your head, because they have been tattooed onto your heart.

Life. Death. All within the power of our tongue. Even the written word brings life or death. Emails, facebook posts, comments left on a blog.

There are times that truth must be told, but even then, the way it is phrased and the setting it is delivered in can bring life or death. Truthful words must come from a loving, humble heart. And delivered in such a way that shows respect to the person receiving it, even if they deserve less.

I am trying to be more careful with my own words. I want to bring life to people, encourage the broken, and speak hope to those in the dark. I don’t want to see a face again, stricken and wounded because I let my tongue fly without restraint.

After all, I may be the only one that speaks life into that person.