By Kristen Soley
Fasting from unkind words is a fruitful opportunity that is borne of love. For many of us, this can be far more difficult than simply passing on that decadent chocolate dessert or seconds on our favorite entree.
Have you ever witnessed an exchange such as this: One child exclaims, “Oh look, the sky is clear and blue today!” Sibling responds, “No, there are some clouds, see? Hello!” Or, “I just finished this coloring page, look!” Sibling responds, “That character is blue, not red.”
A good rule of thumb is pray, think and then speak.
There are a plethora of reasonable responses to any situation or statement. Positive feedback and / or silence are oftentimes the most difficult.
Ephesians 4:29 has this wisdom, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear” (NASB).
We should employ this in all of our exchanges because it benefits everyone. If your spouse misspeaks on a trivial matter, pray, think and then speak. Don’t correct your spouse, especially in front of others. We all make mistakes. “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:31, NASB).
If your response doesn’t benefit the person or situation, help the person avoid sin, or build up the kingdom of God in some way, remain silent. When you take this approach, watch and enjoy the transformation in your home and relationships.
Mother Teresa encourages us to use words that “enlighten and inspire, bring peace, hope and joy; and to refrain from self-defense and every word that causes darkness, turmoil, pain and death.”
Fasting from unkind words is a powerful way to build up the kingdom of God. And we can achieve it if we simply pray, think and then speak.Soley and her husband, Nate, live in a small town where they home-school their seven children, who range in age from 12 to 1. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, she worked in information technology for a consulting firm in the Twin Cities. The family attends St. Mary parish in Waverly. Soley has a website, kristen.soleyfamily.com, and blogs at kristen-soley.blogspot.com.