Three Questions

Wednesday February 13, 2013
Do you ever stop and ask yourself if you should repeat something – or even say something? (Perhaps post something…)
Yeah, that’s the problem. Too few of us do.
In the heat of the moment, in a family conversation that has just flared into a disagreement, it’s all too easy to let something hurtful fly. When my boys were young, I happened upon a quote by Amy Carmichael, missionary to India, in which she referenced three helpful questions:
·         Is it kind?
·         Is it true?
·         Is it necessary?
Think about it. If it doesn’t pass those tests, why bother? And those questions work just as well for adults as kids because … well, sometimes we adults go there, too, when we’re angry or frustrated or just fed up.
But every day I have a choice to make.

Balcony or basement?

Will my response lift someone up or pull them down?

So many times a day, a look, a smile or frown, or an answer empowers me. I often don’t even realize that what I say and do will affect those around me. Oh, I get the big stuff – the compliment, the insult, the sarcasm.

But the offhand response – or the lack of it – can carry meaning, too.

King Solomon wrote, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).

And all too often, I’m not on the balcony or in the basement, I’m just camping out on the landing. By myself, probably looking in the mirror, thinking about me.

That’s when I let the opportunity to praise someone pass me by.

Take an extra second today and consider your response. Reflect on those three questions. Can you just smile sweetly and not respond if it’s not necessary or kind? Can you give the grumpy cashier a smile or offer to bag those groceries yourself? Can you thank your child for doing what he’s supposed to do? There’s nothing wrong with expressing gratefulness for others’ faithfulness.

"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." (Proverbs 6:24)

So join me as I try to think before I speak, seasoning our family life with sweet words.


Megan@DoNotDisturb said...

Thanks for sharing. I like the balcony or basement analogy. Gonna use that one in my home. Visiting from Messy Marriage!


Beth said...

I needed this challenge, Laura Lee. I love the idea of our words bringing people down to the basement or up the balcony. These are little nuggets of wisdom that I'll remember throughout my day. And thanks so much for linking up and helping me out on my latest post! Hugs to you!

kelli woodford said...

ooh, i like the balcony or basement. very memorable way to say it. your post reminds me of another one i've been thinking about lately, "a gentle tongue can break a bone." (proverbs something)

perhaps the kind words not only go deeper, but make more lasting change, eh?

great words here.

Faith said...

gulp. I needed this. thank you for reminding me of Amy's words....(i read her biography a couple years ago). I love this "balcony or basement" imagery. Yup..i REALLY needed to see this today. THANK YOU!!!!!

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