Say What?

“I can’t believe you just said that!”
“Well, if you knew what I was really thinking…”

How often have we said or thought those phrases or something like them? I bet you’re like me and often hear the meaning behind the words even if that’s not what the person meant.

I do not particularly enjoy confrontation. It is, however, interesting to hear conversations going on around me. I believe my job, as a Christian, is to say what needs to be said in a convicting yet caring way. This is not always easy.

Imagine if you are talking with a stranger and this person says some way you need to change. Now imagine the same conversation, but this time it’s a close friend not a stranger. Who would you take offense at? Who would you get defensive with or have your feelings hurt?

Speaking with strangers is sometimes easier than friends or family. Doesn’t it seem we’re nicer and more patient with strangers?

What would it look like to speak the same way to family and friends?

Our speech should build up and encourage. Sometimes encouragement comes in the form of criticism, but it’s purpose is to build up. The language we use is important to pay attention to so that it is used in the right way.

Using communication to build up is not as easy as tearing down; but I know we can all do it.


Published by Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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