by Nate Truman
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Ephesians 4:29 NIV
From before Plato and Socrates, to Dale Carnegie and all the current experts on relationships, people have been trying to figure out how to “make” other people like them, and then be able to influence them. I think we all would agree that life is more enjoyable with good friends to share our lives with. And who wouldn’t enjoy having influence on others when they have a strong desire to have something go their way? Before you wear yourself out learning skills to manipulate others into liking you, I would suggest that you first memorize and then put into practice the above sentence.
I think any “life coach” or motivational speaker of any religion would agree that if you lived out this one idea in your professional and personal life you would have many close friends and have great influence when ever you wanted it.
The first statement is important. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,” that is very clear. If you gossip about others at work, and people know that about you, others may think of you as a good source of “dirt” but I doubt they would also want you to be a close and trusted friend. How do you feel about the person who makes the rude, condescending, off color, or racist remark, or is known for always putting a curse word into every sentence? For whatever reason people do this, it’s not to win friends. It’s to put others down, and try and build themselves up. To win friends and influence people you would do well to live by choosing your words carefully and work to “rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Colossians 3:8
Secondly we are urged to speak “…only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs.” Not only should we aim to say helpful words, but we should choose words that build up the other person. And we can’t do that “according to their needs” unless we have listened to them, and understand their needs.
Lastly, it urges us to speak so “that it may benefit those who listen.” What is the benefit for the other person in what you are saying? If you have that thought in your head, you will come up with helpful, specific and kind words on a regular basis. Do you have a friend who does that for you? Someone who really listens to you and you can count on them to say encouraging words that are helpful and specific? Wouldn’t you like more of your co-workers and friends to speak that way when you are with them? I know I would!
Take the time right now to memorize or print out this one short statement, and start today to apply it each and every time you open your mouth to speak. You will find that the rewards for you will be “winning” more and better friends, and new increased influence when you have something to say!