Recently I was talking with someone and they begin to speak negatively about someone we knew. It grieved me and stirred my heart to pray for the person saying these things.
Both the speaker and the person spoken about are made in God’s image. Both are loved by Him—whether they know Jesus or not. Because of this, I want to know the heart of Father God for them because this is what my heart should reflect:
- God made them and saw that it was good.
- God sent His Son for them as well as you and me, providing a way for restoration and forgiveness of sin.
- God wants to do a transformational work in their lives too.
We have all sinned and needed Jesus to redeem us. This is no time to compare failures and sins. All need Christ every day to grow in holiness, and He calls us to love, share truth and pray.
At some point, every one of us has done someone wrong–whether against God, ourselves or others. It could have been by mistake or done by choice, yet consequences still come. Everyone has areas that need transformation. None of us is capable of true good without God’s inspiration and enablement.
When confronted with negative speech, I try to get God’s heart on the manner. What could have led to the person’s hurtful behavior. And I aim to avoid harboring offense, anger and unforgiveness.
Hurtful situations, hardship in their life or lack of self-worth may have led them to speak this way. They might simply be anxious, depressed, insecure or hopeless. They could be starved for genuine help, support and affection. Maybe they simply had a bad day or week. The possible scenarios are endless.
Sin and ugliness of any kind are never excused (even by having a bad day). Regardless, when someone wrongs us it can be a sign that they need love, kindness and prayer. You may be the only one praying for them besides Christ Himself.
We can take part in God’s work in someone’s life. We can join our prayers with His, seeking to love and be kind even if they’ve done wrong.
Negative speech about others should grieve our hearts as it would God’s, whether we hear or speak it. Gossip and slander are not necessary. This type of behavior is sin. It does not align with the heart of Jesus. Instead it shows where we lack His love for ourselves and others.
An important aside: This also includes our unkind actions and reactions as well.
Before we respond to such situations, we could pray through the following:
- Have I have ever spoken in a way that does not reflect the heart of Father God?
- When I or others have done this, how does it make me feel? Am I grieved when I or others do this?
- Because they also need Christ, will I choose to show love and forgive them? Will I ask God to help me see them through His perspective?
- Will I decide to pray that they will come to know the One who meets every need gives us true worth and identity?
- Will I pray for God to heal every hurt, giving them a desire to let Him transform their hearts?
Like me, does it grieve you when someone speaks hurtful things about another person? Perhaps this is nothing new to you or was a good reminder. Know a friend who needs this message? Don’t forget to share it!
Did I miss anything? Do you have something to add? I’d love for you to leave a comment.
I pray this article sparks a revolution in our hearts to respond as Jesus would!