Continuing from where we left off last week, remember that there is a time to speak and a time to keep our mouths shut. Here are more examples of when it’s best to remain silent:

11. When you are tempted to outright lie. People lie for a variety of reasons: to protect themselves or another person, out of fear of being judged or condemned, to create drama or damage another person’s reputation. Take a moment and reconsider, for those who lie will eventually be revealed and suffer scars upon their character as well as have to face the consequences of their actions. Proverbs 10:21 “The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of understanding.”

12. If your words will damage another person’s reputation or cause them any unnecessary hardships. We all have dirt on one another – those little secrets that others think we don’t know about. And we all have things about ourselves we would like to keep private. We have a choice as to whether we share that information with others or allow it to remain confidential. Before revealing anything that could possibly cause anyone any harm, examine your motives. Is this absolutely necessary that I do so or is it in the best interest of all to allow said information to remain concealed?

13. If your words will destroy a relationship, either yours or someone else’s. At times, we’ve all wanted to tell people what we really think about them. In the heat of anger, true feelings are often revealed without thought as to how they will affect either or both parties. Criticisms, complaints, bitterness, jealousy, judgments, and hatred can all destroy relationships. A moment of contemplation before speaking can prevent a landslide of devastation. Even those unkind words we say to ourselves can cause irreparable damage to our self-esteem. Make certain your words always emanate from a place of kindness.

14. When you are tempted to criticize. Constructive criticism is an oxymoron. It does not exist. It is a ploy that disguises a hurtful comment as helpful one. The one criticizing gains a sense of power over the other person, eliciting feels of shame, hurt, remorse, or self-loathing from them. Criticism in its authentic form is demoralizing and cruel. Keep in mind, too, that one must first live in a spotless house before condemning another’s. I recommend offering constructive suggestions to bring forth positive change.

15. If you can’t speak without yelling. Humans somehow believe that in order to gain someone’s attention or cooperation they must raise their voices to an extreme decibel level. “The louder I speak the more they’ll hear me.” Like the sound of loud construction equipment, people at excessively loud noises and take measures to protect their ears from damage. People either tune out shouting or, like me, physically remove themselves from the source. Take a deep breath before speaking and keep the volume at a reasonable level.

16. When it’s time to listen. Isaiah 50:4 “The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.” We are commanded to listen to and obey the Word of God. Keep in mind that God created two ears and only one mouth – for a reason! We are meant to listen twice as much as we speak. But listening involves more than just the ears: we must also be willing to listen with our hearts so that we may feel what the other is saying.

17. If you may have to offer an apology afterwards. Carpenters have a rule of thumb: measure twice, cut once. There is much wisdom in this ethic as one wastes less time and material by taking careful measures to make an accurate cut the first time. We would be wise to apply this knowledge to our words as well: think twice, speak once. Too often, we are careless in our choice of words and in retrospect realize they were not the best choice. In these cases, it becomes necessary to offer an apology for any insensitive comments we made. As powerful as an expression of remorse it, it cannot undo the damage our words causes. Like a board that was incorrectly cut, the carpenter can glue it back together but the blemish remains forever.

18. If you have already said it more than once. I have learned that people will either hear you or not. They will chose to understand you or not. Regardless of how often you repeat yourself, some people are simply not interested in what you have to say or they may not be capable of understanding it. You may offer a bit of clarity if the other person is unclear on what you meant. But to keep repeating the same thing over and over is called nagging. People turn a deaf ear to badgering.

19. When you are tempted to support, agree with, encourage, or condone a person’s bad behaviors. Would you ever advise your children to use drugs or drink and drive? Of course not. Any good parents would always encourage their children to make smart choices. Those who are believers in God teach them to live a morally righteous life, to follow God’s Commandments, to always be kind and honest. How, then can I support or condone immoral behavior from others? To tell my coworker to get even with a colleague who betrayed them is reprehensible on my part. To hope a criminal gets the death penalty for the heinous crime they committed violates Divine Law. Unless I can be the voice of reason, the bearer of virtuous behavior, I need to remain silent rather than give morally wrong advice. Ephesians 4:29 ” 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.”

20. When you are supposed to be working instead. There’s an interesting passage in the Bible in Proverbs 14:23 “All hard work brings a profit but mere talk leads only to poverty.” I have always had difficulty talking and working at the same time. I am unable to put my full concentration on the task at hand. In that regard, I would often make careless errors or costly mistakes. One needs to put their full mental concentration on the task before them in order to put forth their best work. Idle chatter is distracting and counter-productive.

21. When you’re fighting a losing battle. When disputes arise, we often feel compelled to continue to try and convince the other party that we’re right and they’re wrong. Unless we are dealing with facts, Truth, or issues of morality, differences are not necessarily an indication of being right or wrong. They are simply disagreements, each party seeing things from a different perspective. If you find yourself trying to prove your “rightness”, let it go. This type of behavior is all ego based: one needs to prove themselves superior over another.

22. When what you are about to say will only make matters worse. If someone has made an error or is feeling poorly about themselves, we have the option of being a light in the darkness for them, helping them to see the goodness in who they are, or contributing to their already low self-image. If your son doesn’t make the football team because he’s overweight and out of shape, offer some assistance in helping him to improve so he can try again next year or try out for a sport more suitable for him. Make certain that your words are always encouraging and uplifting.
Proverbs 21:23: “Whosoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from trouble.”

23. When you talk just to fill up the silence or to hear yourself talk. People are often uncomfortable in the silence. They feel compelled to offer a distraction by filling the space with words. However, as an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, idle chatter can be just as dangerous. Rambling can lead to all sorts of foolish statements, irreverent comments, offensive observations, rude humor, and so on. Additionally, when we are busy chattering we are not listening – to the other party or to God. Silence truly is golden for it is in the stillness that one hears the Word of God.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, o let your words be few.”

Conversation is highly overrated. There is both intelligence and beauty in silence. Listen to the stillness. Know when it’s best not to say anything at all.
Q: “Life isn’t a competition. It’s a cooperation. Until we are willing to stop fighting to prove our superiority and gain dominance over others and join together to uplift one another, we will never establish world peace.”

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“20+ TIMES TO NOT SAY ANYTHING” Pt 1

There are so many times in our lives when we realize after the fact that it would have been in our best interest to have kept our thoughts to ourselves. Words are powerful and can make matters better or cause damage to others or get us into a whole lot of trouble. There is much wisdom in the old adage to “think before you speak”, sage advice for us to follow throughout our entire lives. The Bible tells us that there is a time to reap and a time to sow, a time to laugh and a time to cry. There is also a time to speak and a time to keep our mouths shut. Here are more than twenty such times:

1. When we are angry or upset. Emotions fuel our behavior including our choice of words. Intense emotions, such as anger, cloud rational thinking and oftentimes propels us to say hurtful or rude comments that may cause pain to the other party, damage our relationship with them, or get one or more of us in trouble. Give yourself time to calm down and cool off before speaking. Refer to the SWaT Strategy in my book, The Secret Side of Anger. Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”

2. When we speak before knowing all of the facts. How often do we open our mouth before knowing all the details of what we are commenting on? We see a scratch on our car when coming out of the store and assume the person closest to it with the overflowing shopping cart is responsible for the damages. We immediately accuse them of wrongdoing. Doing so shows little regard for their feelings and zero interest in deciphering the truth. One only seeks a target for their ire. Therefore, make certain your brain is in gear before your mouth is in motion.

3. When you comment on an issue before verifying that it is true. Our political system is highly volatile, in part, due to accusations and assumptions being perpetrated by the media and others before fact checking to see if their information is correct. Misinformation, lies, assumptions can all lead to unnecessary drama and hardship. Make certain your source of information is accurate before commenting. “Those who seek the truth ask questions. Those who are uninterested form judgments.”~ Janet Pfeiffer

4. If your choice of words will hurt or offend the other party. It’s important to be truthful to one another even when we are not happy with them. However, one can politely state how they feel and do so while showing sensitivity towards the other. There are multiple ways of saying the same thing: choose the one most respectful. Imagine how you would feel if those same comments were directed at you. Proverbs 16:24 “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

5. If your words do not reflect Divine Love. Imagine how Jesus would have spoken to others. Will your words be reflective of His compassion and kindness? One need not believe in Jesus to follow His example of benevolence towards humanity. 1Corinthians: “Let all that you do (say) be done in love.” Temper your words with kindness, always.

6. When you are tempted to make light of a serious situation. Joking about that which is sinful, illegal, immoral, or painful to another is insensitive and in poor taste. We must always show reverence for that which is a violation of Divine or civil law or common decency. Compassion towards others enables us to refrain from minimizing another’s suffering. Sometimes we do so in an attempt to ease our own discomfort in the situation but to do so is insensitive to others.

7. When you would regret your words later. Once spoken, words cannot be retracted. Even an apology cannot erase the damage hurtful words can do for once released they can live inside the receiver’s mind for a lifetime. Said once; replayed for eternity. Therefore, carefully choose only those words that you would feel comfortable with knowing they will live on forever.

8. When you are tempted to use God’s Name in conjunction with an offensive comment. Society has pretty much deemed it acceptable to combine the Name of the Lord with profanity and along with phrases of disdain. To do so is an offense to the One who is Purity, Light, and Love. Unclean comments are an abomination to the Lord. The Third Commandment states “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Choose alternative phrases to express your displeasure.

9. If your words are misleading or convey the wrong impression. For someone to misrepresent themselves as something other than who they are is deceitful and wrong. In some cases, it can be illegal (such as an EMT misrepresenting themselves as a medical doctor). To make wrongful insinuations about another person or situation with the deliberate intent of misleading others is a poor reflection on your character as well as being unjust to the other party. Actions of this nature can be accompanied by serious consequences to yourself as well as others.

10. If the issue is none of your business. MYOB is great advice: mind your own business. How often do we feel compelled to comment on that which is not our concern? By intervening, we often contribute too much information or information that others may not need to know or should not know about, give inappropriate advice or make improper comments, or offend others by becoming involved in a private matter. Think twice before joining a conversation that you have not been invited into.

11. When you are tempted to outright lie. People lie for a variety of reasons: to protect themselves or another person, out of fear of being judged or condemned, to create drama or damage another person’s reputation. Take a moment and reconsider, for those who lie will eventually be revealed and suffer scars upon their character as well as have to face the consequences of their actions. Proverbs 10:21 “The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of understanding.”

12. If your words will damage another person’s reputation or cause them any unnecessary hardships. We all have dirt on one another – those little secrets that others think we don’t know about. And we all have things about ourselves we would like to keep private. We have a choice as to whether we share that information with others or allow it to remain confidential. Before revealing anything that could possibly cause anyone any harm, examine your motives. Is this absolutely necessary that I do so or is it in the best interest of all to allow said information to remain concealed?

Words can hurt or words can heal. There are times when it is far more intelligent and compassionate to remain silent. Think carefully before speaking. Next week, we’ll continue with even more occasions when it is better to not say anything at all.

ANGER: FIRE OR ICE?

It doesn’t take much to anger some people. Even the most innocent comments can cause some tempers to flare. Innocuous situations can be misinterpreted leading to screaming matches, cursing, or physical altercations. In an instant, violence can erupt where calm once existed and destruction of property, injury to one’s person, or psychological damage can occur. Patience, understanding, forgiveness, and compassion are replaced by personal entitlement and arrogance.

Consider this: recently a friend of mine named Sara had an encounter in a store with a unfamiliar woman. The woman’s shopping cart was blocking the isle so Sara, not knowing who the cart belonged to, moved it to the side. The owner became irate shouting that Sara had no right to touch her cart and should have asked before moving it. While I consider this a reasonable request, I do object to her method of inquiry. The woman’s purse was in the cart and she stated her concerned that someone could have taken it to which Sara replied with an attitude, “If you’re so worried about your purse maybe you shouldn’t have left it in the cart and walked away!” The banter escalated into cursing at which point Sara’s friend, Karen, stepped up stating arrogantly that if Sara had been white the woman never would have treated her this way. Sara concluded by cursing the woman out and leaving.
There is so much about this situation that was unfortunate. Certainly, had the woman not left her cart unattended blocking the aisle, none of this would have transpired. However, had Sara posed a simple request for the owner to identify herself, this issue could have been easily resolved by the person moving said cart herself. Regardless of Sara’s actions, the woman’s irate response was extremely rude and uncalled for. Rather than trying to diffuse things, each continued to escalate the situation. Sara’s sarcastic retort resulted in a tirade of profanity. As if that were not enough, Karen added more fire by turning this into a racial incident. (There was no evidence what-so-ever that race was a factor.) More profanity spewed by Sara at the other woman before exiting the store finally brought this event to a close. Fortunately for everyone, it did not become physical, resulting in injury and/or possible arrest.

There are several reasons why people respond this way:

1. Entitlement Mindset: Those with a sense of entitlement feel as though they are above others; that ordinary rules of common courtesy don’t apply to them; and that if they have been wronged in the past they now have a free pass to walk around with a chip on their shoulder.

2. Responsibility Evaders: They fail to take personal responsibility. Sara was quick to point out the mistakes of the other woman without taking ownership for her own actions. If one person acts poorly it does not justify the other responding likewise. Remember the old adage: two wrongs don’t make a right. The fact that Karen turned this into a racial issue, when there was no indication it was, is additional proof that neither was holding themselves accountable for escalating the situation. Making this incident about skin color, of which Sara has no control, alleviates her of being responsible simply by default. (“I did not choose my skin color, therefore I’m not responsible for racial discrimination nor my reaction to it.”) This irrational thought process is invalid both in a legal sense as well as on a spiritual level.

3. Power Hungry: There are those who thrive on drama and the sense of power it affords them when they incite it. There is a sense of power and control over the incident and the individuals involved. They know how to push buttons and evoke the desired response. This is a form of bullying that results from low self-esteem and feelings of insecurity.

4. Justice Seekers: One who perceives that prejudice has occurred feels the need for immediate justice and to restore a sense of fairness and balance to the relationship. A bruised ego, one who takes personal offense to another person’s actions, is propelled into the “fight” mode as a means of self-protection.

In summary, in any given situation, we can act like accelerants and add more fuel to the already dangerous fire. Or we can be as ice, calming and soothing, preventing any damage from occurring.
Alternative Responses:

1. Always be polite and respectful towards others regardless of their behavior. Your actions are a reflection of who you are. Be authentic to your inherent nature – love.

2. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Someone may be having a bad day or misinterpreted something you said or did. Make allowances whenever possible and give others a chance to redeem themselves.

3. Acknowledge their feelings and experience. There experience is valid to them and without recognition it is very difficult to move forward peacefully. Everyone seeks validation.

4. Offer an apology for anything that may have offended the other person. An apology is a powerful tool illustrating one’s sensitivity to the other person’s feelings or situation. It is not always an admission of guilt as many believe.

5. Practice diffusing statements such as “I’d like to discuss this so we can get the issue resolved.” “If we could both remain calm that would be really helpful.” “I’m interested in what you have to say.”

6. Be sincere in your desire to resolve the issue quickly and to the satisfaction of all parties.

7. Whatever you say or do, make certain it emanates from a place of kindness, respect, concern, and fairness for all parties.

Even the most innocent situations can turn ugly in an instant. Each of us has the ability to accelerate a heated situation by adding more fire to it through inciteful words or threatening actions or arrogant attitudes. Or we can extinguish the flames by adding ice: sincerity, respect, helpful suggestions, accountability, and fairness.
Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
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