Luke 6:45 - A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
“Well, Susan, it’s time to hang up for now. We’ll talk later.”
“Ok, Denise. Have a good day. Bye.”
Let’s take a look at this conversation. When you end a phone call do you say your “goodbye” with a monotone voice, a depressed goodbye with a downward tone, or with your voice lifted?
I’ve thought a lot about this lately and have been paying attention to my phone conversations. I think the tone of your voice at the end a phone call matters.
I know you may be depressed, angry, or have had a really bad day. You don’t feel like being positive.
And I’m not suggesting that we try to hide what’s going on. Sometimes there are very valid reasons why our voice may be shaking as in the loss of a loved one or frustration with a project that keeps hitting roadblocks.
However, often our feelings are expressed in our words and how we say them. Our communication with others is not just about what we say but how we say it that counts.
And, since we can’t see the reactions of a caller through facial features or body language, the words we speak, and the tone of our voice is that much more important. It may be the only thing we have to go on. The same is true of the listener becoming the speaker. It shows the attitude you’re showing to that person.
While speech is how you use words, voice is how you create sound. To your listeners, your voice is a part of who you are and what you believe.
Wikihow.com in their article, “How to Develop a Friendly Tone of Voice,” talks about some of the things that affect how we speak including changing your speaking patterns by slowing down your speech as well as important words in your sentence should be spoken in a higher pitch while lower pitches can show calmness to your listeners and will keep people engaged while you speak. In addition, don’t just keep the conversation one sided. Allow your listening time to speak into the conversation as well.
The Bible verses above talk about our hearts and that what we speak is out of the overflow of our hearts. What’s inside finds its way outside. So let’s paint a picture with our voice that we want to pass on to our listener.
1 Timothy 5:13 – Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.
It’s good to have friends.
It’s good to have family that care about you.
But what if your friends or family have a tendency to tell you what to do? Well, that can cause you to think less of yourself and stop trusting your judgment.
Every time you speak to them, it feels like they try to pick you apart. It feels like no matter what you do it isn’t good enough.
They always think that they know better than you, and after all, aren’t they just showing how much they care about you? Wouldn’t it be better if you gave in and did what they were trying to tell you to do?
No. Absolutely no. It is important to ask others their opinion on an important decision, but to have to get their opinion on every little thing. No.
So how do we put an end to their prying without hurting their feelings? Let’s take a look at an article on psychologytoday.com in their article, “9 Ways to Handle Nosy People.” Though the article has to do with questions people ask you who are just plain nosy, the article can give us some clues on how we can put an end to people prying into our lives. One way is to always tell the truth. Telling lies when trying to prevent people from knowing what you’re doing isn’t going to end well. You’ll run out of lies to cover up lies and you’ll have to tell the truth anyway. This may cause people to try to tell you what to do even more strongly. Also, I like this one: use deflection. Change the subject. If there are other people where you are try shifting your conversation to them.
The article helped me see that by changing your focus by subject or finding others can help you feel better about yourself, because you are in charge of the conversation and not the one who’s prying.
So as the Bible verse above tells us, let’s not be idle and prying into someone’s life and trying to tell them what to do all of the time. In turn, don’t be the person who pries into other’s lives. Be a good conversationalist, but don’t let it become a heavy pressure on the one who is trying to do the best they can do in the situation they are in.
James 3:6 – The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
Regret is one thing in life that can literally hold you back. You have a conversation with a family member, and it starts to spin out of control. Words fly out of your mouth and out of the mouth of the one you’re speaking to. Then out it comes – Words that you can’t take back.
There you have it. It’s engraved in stone and there’s no way to erase it. How do you get past this?
Here’s another wrinkle – What if you have no idea what you said or did that has caused this large breach in your relationship. You scan your memory banks wondering which memory is from the day you hurt the one you love.
I think a lot has to do with whether or not the person you care about will forgive you when you ask them too.
But forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget what happened. Forgiveness is for you, the one who was hurt. If you harbor bad feelings toward someone it may not upset them, but it can continue to upset you, the one who was hurt. The only way to freedom is to forgive the person who vomited out hurtful words, and then begin the process of reconciliation because sometimes there is hope and there is a way back. You can’t take your words back, but you can let go of the past and wait patiently for your family member to heal and are ready to move past the words that were spoken.
Sbs.com.au in their article, “Separated and Hurting: How to Reconnect with Estranged Family Members,” talks about how no individual is perfect and neither is anyone’s family unit. Family estrangements occur in all cultures. When trying to decide whether you can reestablish some form of conversation with the hurt party, you have to decide if it’s a good idea to open up old wounds. You need to look past thinking that you’re going to have a happy family where everyone gets along. We may need to realize that some families never reconcile.
I know this is difficult to face, but it is a possibility that there truly is no going back. It all may feel like it’s out of control. The article above also discusses steps to take if you want to reconnect such as it will take time and effort to rebuilt trust and respect. Considering family counseling may be the best choice for all parties.
Our tongues truly are a fire that can corrupt the whole body and set the whole course of one’s life on fire. That tongue may cause a situation where you can’t take back your words once they are spoken and regret may put up a stop sign preventing either party from moving forward. It is here, in the midst of the storm, that life has a chance to more forward, or where you may have to accept that your family is going to remain estranged. But there is hope. God can send out a life raft to provide a way out of the storm and find love in his presence where you don’t find any in your family.
Proverbs 16:2 – All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.
Why do we do the things we do?
For self-satisfaction or the praise of men?
Maybe it’s the rush you feel as you do it.
Or for giving God glory?
If you have low self-esteem like I do, then your motivation may be always looking for ways to please others. We need that, “Atta Boy!” Or at least a smile after we’ve turned in a project at work.
But if we live life seeking other’s attention and praise, I’m afraid we can become very discouraged. And this is the wrong kind of motivation.
Find something you like to do. Then enjoy doing it. Maybe you’re writing a book and want it to touch other people’s lives, but you don’t have the courage to try sending it to a publisher for review.
Will we fold up on the inside and decide to not care about life anymore when we get our book manuscript sent back denied without a reason why? Or when you submit a project at work your boss rejects it and tells you to start over will we just give up? In both examples there wasn’t the right motive.
Sometimes we have to find our motivation in what we do. If we know why we are doing something and we are doing it for the right reason, it can help keep us motivated no matter what the outcome is. Thriveglobal.com in their article, “Examine Your Real Motives: Are Your Motives Aligned with Your Values and Actions?” we can learn how to discover our real motivation. Motives are the underlying reasons for the actions we take the words we say. There are several methods in the article of how to tell your motives. One of them is to ask “why?” five times. It takes courage to examine yourself and your motivation. It may take less than five times to ask yourself what your motives are, but it can also take more. Often our motivation is buried deep inside of us. If you find out, you have the wrong motive then turn it around and search for a right motive such as to uplift the human condition. This means that what I’m doing isn’t just to benefit myself but to also benefit others.
We can try to fool ourselves into thinking that our motives are pure, but God will be able to tell. He wants us to put others before ourselves and find ways to help others by what we do. This can seem like an impossible task if for years we’ve been doing our “own thing”. But once we’ve checked one motive it will be easier to check our motivation in the future.
Proverbs 18:24: One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
I have these friends who I have so fun much getting together with. Most of the time I visit with one friend at a time, but many times I get together with both.
Sometimes we rush into conversations when we have something wonderful to tell each other. It’s always a blast to see their reactions and how good it makes me feel to have made them laugh or watch a smile spread across their face.
But sometimes, I get stuck. It’s that old gossip thing that tries to knock down doors and plunge into conversations. One friend did or said something to the other person that wasn’t nice. Sometimes they unload secrets that I really don’t want to know. Because once the words are out there, you can’t take them back.
This gossip leads to anger when the other friend learns they’ve being talked about in a negative way.
So, I get stuck. Each is pulling an arm in an opposite direction. Each believes that if they give me enough reasoning that I’ll side with them.
Ever been stuck between two friends? Itscommoncourtesy.com has some suggestions in their article, “Caught in the Middle of two Friends.” Always be honest and upfront with both friends. It’s okay to listen but let it be known that you will remain friends with both of them. Also, don’t share trusted information. You don’t want to lose either friend’s trust. In addition, don’t force a reunion. Let your friends work out their problems on their own time schedule.
Being stuck between two friends can be difficult. But with kindness and compassion you can be an example to both friends that you aren’t going to give up on either of them. Remember: Be the friend who sticks closer than a brother. Be the kind of friend who won’t give up and you’ll find friends who stick to you like glue.
2 Chronicles 20:9 – If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.
COVID-19 has made changes to our lives.
The need to physical contact and the lack of it can create a famine of a different kind. A famine of companionship.
Yes, it has been necessary to stay at home, but we also haven’t been able to have family and friends come over for a visit.
And as some of the COVID-19 restrictions are being pulled back, perhaps soon we can be part of our community again. And that includes ending our famine of a different kind.
The famine of physical touch is real. We all need some form of physical touch. And when we don’t get it, we may feel empty.
According to healthline.com in their article, “What Does it Mean to be Touch Starved?” being touch starved is a very real thing. As human beings we’re wired to touch each other. Touching a person is one kind of touch, but if we have pets, they can help fill up our lack of touch. When you feel snowed under or pressured, the body releases stress hormones. Touch can reduce such stress, allowing the immune system to work the way it should. Also, touch can calm certain bodily functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. A few ways to know if you’re touch starved are feelings of depression, anxiety, stress and difficulty sleeping. The article also discusses some simple ways to get your fill of touch and what you can do to encourage touch every day thus taking care of this different kind of famine due to COVID-19.
Though the Bible verse above is talking about lack of food, it still can apply to someone suffering from a different kind of famine as mentioned above. It was believed that if they cried out to God in their distress, he would hear them and save them. God can also save us from a famine of touch if we call out to him in our distress.
Malachi 2:16a – For the Lord, the God of Israel, says he hates divorce and cruel men.
As a victim of domestic violence I often think about whether I’m supposed to let my abuser back into my life.
Abuse damages you not only physically and emotionally but also causes you to question all of your relationships. And even when your abuser isn’t hurting you, the cycle of violence continues.
Trust must be built by actions showing that your abuser is sorry for what they did to you. But be careful with your heart. Your abuser may know you better than you know yourself. They know just the words to say to reel you in on their fishing line and catching you off guard yet again.
Back to the original question: Do you allow an abuser back into your life.
If you don’t trust yourself, it is probably best to stay away from your abuser or anyone else who shows signs of being an abuser.
We all want to feel special in someone else’s eyes. We want to be loved and cherished. We want to be able to trust our feelings, but you can’t.
Where it comes to moving forward, know that the cycle of abuse can at any time be at the part where they seem sorry. But then the cycle continues, and you find yourself caught once again in a web of lies and pain.
According to ashleyeaster.com, in her article, “What Forgiving an Abuser Doesn’t Mean,” other people in your life, like your family, may try to guilt you into having a relationship with someone who has abused you to “keep the family together” by letting an abuser back into your life. One of their quotes has continued to be thrown in my face after years of abuse, “They said they were sorry, why have you cut them out of your life?” Unless you’ve been abused, you can’t understand how hurtful it is to have family members try to guilt you into letting your abuser, most likely their father, back into your life. The pressure is placed on you instead of the abuser. And when I divorced their father they believed I was in the wrong.
Another thing that I have found is that the family may kick you to the curb instead of the one who continues to abuse them, also.
The article also talks about forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation and forgiveness doesn’t mean excusing or overlooking the wrong.
One of the things that has hurt me the most over the years is that my family will do things with their father and exclude me. It would seem once again that your pain is downplayed, and they feel sorry for their father. But what if they were abused? They don’t want to feel that pain. They want to feel like nothing bad ever happened.
Though God hates divorce, I believe there are situations that make divorce the only choice to avoid being continually abused. Tough choices to have to make, but necessary ones. God hates divorce but he also hates cruel men.
Numbers 23:19 – God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
In the article, “Lying is a Horribly Destructive Habit,” the author describes how lying can go from one generation to the next. Hurt people will in turn hurt others. In addition, lying can become addictive.
How do we stop lying? The article gives us some clues on how to stop. First, admit that you have a problem, remember how lying messes up your life, try to find out what made you lie, tell someone when you lie and practice telling the truth. The article also gives you more ways to help you break your lying cycle for good.
Another good thing to remember is that God never lies. And, he always keeps his promises. If you dedicate your life to speak only the truth, then God will honor your efforts and help you put back together the pieces of the relationships you lost due to lying.
Philippians 2:4 – Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
It is difficult to be pushed aside; when people, those you even care about, ignore you and your needs. It’s not that we’re trying to be pushy. We just want what everyone else wants – to be loved and to love. But love can’t be a one-way street. You give others your love, yet they don’t give it back.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need help you can be pushed aside and ignored because they’re too busy dealing with their own life. However, we are busy it’s important to take the time. Make a phone call. Leave a Facebook message. Text them. You can see where I’m heading.
This world is full of people who say they are too busy to care about anyone else. But that’s never true really. It’s all about priorities. Where are yours? If you miss a day of scanning through Facebook, you feel like you’re out of touch with those you have as friends.
We live in a fast time. We all understand that our plates are getting full or are already there. We can understand what the circumstances of our friends and family are, yet there is no excuse for pushing someone away.
Wikihow.com posts an article titled, “How to Deal with People who Ignore You.” Some of their suggestions are avoid jumping to conclusions, invite them to talk privately, be nice to them and explain your feelings. This list is just a few of the article’s suggestions.
Remember, it’s never okay to be pushed aside and ignored. However, there may be a good reason why they are ignoring you and the only way to find out why is to have that quiet conversation.
The Bible verse above says to not just look out for your interests but also those of other. In this way, you may help your friend to be vulnerable and realize you truly do care about their current circumstances.
Colossians 4:6 – Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
You’re walking along minding your own business when someone steps out of the shadows and blocks your way. They begin to assault you with their words, and you’re frantically trying to think of what you said or did to make your friend so angry.
Misunderstandings can happen when you may say something and have no hidden agenda and not wanting to hurt a friend, yet they seem to turn on you and want nothing to do with you.
Quickly you think through your memories and come up with one that may explain your friend’s behavior. It’s something you said. But you have no idea that your friend had been hurt by your comment.
Misunderstandings. They happen all the time whether it’s a coworker, family member or friend things can be turned from something you spoke lightly to a misunderstanding that turns a friend into an enemy.
You’d asked how things were going at work for them. Innocent to ask about you’d thought. Yet what you didn’t know at the time, your friend had received another pink slip and was on the verge of being fired. Now your friend feels like you’re attacking them as well. They think that you don’t care about them because you brought up the subject.
But you didn’t know. You really had no clue.
Here’s another, you ask a friend how their husband is doing, not knowing that he’d just confessed to be having an affair. Your friend had been hurt and was contemplating getting a divorce. But you had no clue. Maybe you should’ve if you really were a close friend.
So, you apologize to your friend saying that you were sorry for saying anything that hurt them more. They don’t let you off the hook. They yell at you and ask how you were so insensitive.
Sometimes an apology is all that’s needed and sitting down with your friend and listening to what they’ve been going though.
Let’s turn this around. You’re the one who is hurt, and your friend is not helping you. You feel like they’re accusing you and are putting the blame of the lost job and potential lost marriage on you. So, when your friend starts to ask you questions about your life, you want to have nothing to do with them. You don’t want them around at all. Listening to you is not enough. Your friend tries to offer some advice. Oh no! Wrong thing to say.
Most people who are hurting don’t want your advice. They don’t want you to say that everything will be okay. That you’re just undergoing a test. A trial. Which is supposed to make them stronger and that things will work for the good in their life.
Then it’s back to you. Even though your friend is trying to be helpful, it’s only hurtful.
What’s a friend to do? Littlethingsmatter.com has some suggestions on how to avoid misunderstandings in their article, “Six Ways to Avoid Misunderstandings.” Here are a couple. Make sure your written communications are clear. Emails are great and fast, but if you want to be sure that your meaning is clear, writing about a subject and then handing it to your co-worker or friend is a good idea. Your co-worker will have an opportunity to read and re-read your letter. And handwriting is a lost art. Taking the time to write on paper can show your co-worker that you value their opinion. Also, there’s just something about holding a letter in your hand.
Another of the article’s idea is ask others to repeat what they heard. When you ask people to repeat what they said, not only forces them to make sure they know what you said. Saying it back can reduce misunderstandings.
No one wants to be misunderstood, so take the time to be sure at the onset of a conversation that your friend or co-worker knows your meaning, not theirs. Also, just as the Bible verse above says, your conversations should always be full of grace. That means that don’t jump down someone’s throat during a conversation. Let them finish their train of thought and then you will know how to answer them.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.