In the absence of questions this week, I thought I’d re-post part of a blog I wrote about the damaging effects of negative thoughts and speech, which are certainly against God’s ways and Jesus’ teachings. We’ve all experienced the destructive nature of negativity and engaged in harmful chit-chat from time to time. Allowing ourselves to get sucked into gossip and negativity can feel good for a moment while it creates an air of emotional bonding over familiar foes or hatreds; however, there’s nothing helpful and everything hurtful about the practice that begins with a negative thought. And there are undesirable effects of negative thinking and speech.
Cancer and this type of thinking and behavior are linked, as are physical ailments and crippling illnesses. Also, emotional and mental fallout from this self-generated thinking and behavior include anger, depression, paranoia, and unhappiness at the very least (e.g., https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-do-thoughts-and-emotions-affect-health). There’s probably no quicker way to destroy personal and family relationships than to react out of anger with hateful or slanderous speech after working oneself into a frenzy about things that are likely untrue or exaggerated. The tongue is indeed a destructive weapon!
So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. —James 3:5-6 (NASB).
Negative speech and thought might be manifestations of deeper emotional or spiritual issues. Jesus made this related comment: “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and these defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” –Matthew 5:18-19 (NASB). Finally, God’s people don’t practice harmful speech and negativity.
Slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. —Romans 1:30-32 (NASB).
But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. —Colossians 3:8 (NASB).
Where do we go from here? If you recognize these behaviors in yourself, then stop!! Begin substituting negative thoughts with positive ones and seek clarification instead of making assumptions and harboring anger. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Don’t engage in negative conversation but dwell on healthy, positive speech and activities. Live well; walk by the Spirit; see God.
Blessings and peace,
(This article contains re-posted information from a Dec. 6, 2016 blog (ronbraley.blog))