Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
People are harsh. Especially girls. It seems that I often read comments on blogs or social websites that makes me cringe and think, “I can’t believe she just said that!”
Everyone wants attention. Sometimes, it takes saying something that “shocks” or “one-ups” someone else. For example, when someone vents a little about the throes of single-motherhood, another person might hastily comment, “At least you have a baby!” Or, perhaps a girl is missing her boyfriend because he is deployed for a few months and another girl says, “Oh yeah? Mine is gone for a whole year! Your situation isn’t that bad.”
The truth is, everyone has bad days. But when someone tries to diminish your feelings by making you feel as if you’re being overly-dramatic or that your feelings aren’t valid, it only makes you defensive and frustrated.
But what if we turned these situations around? Are we the ones being rash? Are we the ones tossing others’ feelings in the dirt just for a little self-inflation? Do other’s cringe when we come around?
What mood are you often in? How do you think it affects those around you? Be sensitive to other members in your group as you discuss this.
Reading and Questions
Elisha was a prophet in the Old Testament. Read about a few of the miracles he performed:
2 Kings 4:2-7
2 Kings 4:32-37
2 Kings 6:18
There are many examples of miracles done through Elisha. He was dedicated to speaking God’s word and he served with confidence. But perhaps the most impressive miracle is the following:
2 Kings 13:20-21, “Elisha died and was buried…Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.”
Wow! Elisha was obviously a spiritually powerful person, enough to have a life-giving effect even from just touching his dead bones.
I wonder if I have a life-giving effect on those around me. I wonder if people feel uplifted by being in my presence.
What kind of reactions do you create? What kind of mood do you bring to a party or conversation? Are you the person bringing other people down, or do you lift them up? Are you conscious enough about your attitude to keep it in check? Take several minutes to talk/think/write/pray about this now.
Proverbs 28b says, “…a gossip separates close friends.”
James 19 says, “…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”
James 1:26 says, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
There are so many more verses in the bible that instruct us to “keep a tight rein” on our tongues. God is very concerned about how we speak to others. He values our control of our tongue!
Do you gossip? Why? What effects do you think this has on others? How have you been hurt by gossip?
Now think about your attitude and temper towards your child. Do you act differently in private than in public? Are there times you wish you were different? How can you work on being a better parent? How can you speak love into your child?
We may not have the life-giving power of Elisha’s bones, but we do have the power to affect those around us in some serious ways. Take time this week to think about this each time you enter a room or a conversation. Be aware of your own presence, and ask yourself, “Am I someone that I would want to be with? Am I encouraging, or merely tolerable? How can I encourage those around me today?
Most chapters of Proverbs mention the way we can affect others through our attitudes or our words. Read Proverbs chapter 15, and note the verses that speak to this. You can be sure that it teaches us about being cautious of what we say and how we act!
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
To print or download a copy of this study, click I’ve Got an Attitude PDF.