Cultivate the Habit of Speaking Well of Others

Words are powerful. Throughout history they have built and torn down kingdoms, nations, organizations, communities, families, and relationships. If we realized the power of our words, it might impress a greater desire to be judicious in what we think and speak. Now and then I catch a glimpse of this, although from day to day it is a much more challenging endeavor.

Recently I came across some inspiring words from a favorite writer that I hadn’t read in a while. These words of wisdom were written sometime between 1865 and 1905. I wonder if they are just as relevant today as they were then.

Cultivate the habit of speaking well of others. Dwell upon the good qualities of those with whom you associate, and see as little as possible of their errors and failings. When tempted to complain of what someone has said or done, praise something in that person’s life or character. Cultivate thankfulness. It never pays to think of our grievances. Earnest workers have no time for dwelling upon the faults of others. We cannot afford to live on the husks of others’ faults or failings. Evil-speaking is a twofold curse, falling more heavily upon the speaker than upon the hearer. He who scatters the seeds of dissension and strife reaps in his own soul the deadly fruits. The very act of looking for evil in others develops evil in those who look. By dwelling upon the faults of others, we are changed into the same image.”  – From the book Ministry of Healing by Ellen G. White

In thinking about how issues may play out at work, and at home because of our words, this framework may add a new dimension to how we approach our relationships. By using our thoughts and words with care, we might cultivate a more positive life for ourselves and those around us.

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