By Kelly Basham
Do you struggle to speak both truth and grace to yourself when you make a mistake?
My husband once encouraged me to pay more attention to my words, taking into consideration the feelings of others so I could speak the truth with more tact. To put it simply, the words I used lacked grace.
Although I still have room to grow, I try to carefully consider each word before answering since my husband gently revealed my need for a more tactful way of speaking to others. However, after a recent assessment of how I talk to myself, whether aloud or internally in my head, I discovered that the words I say to myself are not always gracious, kind, or loving.
In my effort to curb how I talked to others, I overlooked the way I spoke to myself.
The Words We Say to Ourselves Matter
We may not think the words we say to ourselves are of any consequence, but the truth is, the way we speak to ourselves matters. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Our words have the power to stimulate growth and healing or induce deterioration.
Paying attention to my words allowed me to see an unhealthy pattern in how I spoke to myself when I made a mistake or fell short. I discovered that my words were often overly critical, untrue and harsh, which only stunted my progress, preventing me from moving forward. If I made an error, I would mentally beat myself up.
Instead of saying something beneficial to myself, I would say something counterproductive. For example, rather than say, “Alright, I didn’t do this correctly, but I can learn and grow from this and do better next time.” I would say, ” You will never be good enough. You are such a failure.” which isn’t gracious or true.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
We want our words to motivate progress. Ephesians 4:29 instructs us to speak in a way that builds up and encourages growth. Does this mean we ignore the not-so-pleasant truth? No, we can talk graciously to ourselves while still kindly speaking the truth to ourselves.
Mistakes Don’t Have to Hold us Back
We will always make mistakes, but we don’t have to allow those mistakes to hold us back. We can thrive despite our mishaps by allowing ourselves to gain knowledge from them.
How do you respond when you make a mistake? Are your words loving and kind or harsh and overly critical? The next time you make an error, pay attention to the way you speak to yourself. If you find that your words lack grace and truth, ask God to help you remember that while you may have fallen short this time, you can glean knowledge from this experience and do better in the future.
By speaking to yourself in a way that includes both truth and grace, you will enable yourself to learn from your mistakes so that you can improve and grow.
Wife Step: Pay attention to the words you say to yourself this week. If you find that they lack grace and truth, ask God to help you change your words to be kind, gracious, loving and truthful.
Kelly is a writer and blogger passionate about pointing others to God’s word for all of life’s obstacles. On her blog, Blossom In Faith, she writes to encourage others to grow in their relationship with Jesus as they seek, study, and reflect on God’s word. Kelly lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband Brandon, two young adult children, their son-in-law, and two very cuddly puppies. When she isn’t writing, you’ll probably find her working on a new arts and crafts project, hunting for vintage accessories, or planning her family’s next visit to the mountains.