If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

Psalm 141

When I was little, my parents used to tell me something when I would say something mean about my little sister:  “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Back  then, that advice drove me absolutely bonkers.  Looking back, however, it was pretty sound advice.  Advice that should be followed today.

We all know people who can’t seem to say anything nice about others.  It comes in different forms:  gossip, insults, slander, anger, etc.  They always seem to stir the pot.  When drama rises, their words are like gasoline on a fire.  All of us have been guilty of such speech.  Some of us may still participate in such conversations.

Look at what the author of Psalm 141 writes in Psalm 141:2-4,

May my prayer be counted as incense before You;
The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.Set a guard, O Lord , over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.

Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
To practice deeds of wickedness
With men who do iniquity;
And do not let me eat of their delicacies.

Gossip and slander is sweet–we know something about someone before anyone else (regardless of if it’s true or not).  Slander makes us feel good about ourselves (regardless if it has any basis in fact or not).  The author of Psalm 141 asks God to guard his mouth so that he is not tempted to speak evil.  That way, his words (specifically his prayers) are like sweet-smelling incense to God.

We must allow God to search the depths of our hearts and expose the evil thoughts we have about others (because our words find their origins in our hearts).  What areas of conversation do we need to repent from?  Do we need to think before we speak?  Do we need to go to someone and ask forgiveness for evil speech against them?  Do we need to erradicate evil speech from our lives and replace it with speech that builds up?

All of us need to work on these things.  I guess my parents’ advice is still good advice.  If you can’t say anything nice, just keep your trap shut.

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About Aaron

Aaron is a follower of Jesus. He's married to his smokin' hot wife Laura and is the father of three adorable girls. He enjoys a robust cigar, a complex root beer, a good movie, writing, football, thought-provoking books, and rousing discussions about subjects you're not supposed to talk about (like theology and politics). Religious people irritate him (because he once was one). He's on a quest to find the perfect dry rub and sauce for ribs.
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2 Responses to If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

  1. Charlotte says:

    Thanks, that is a very good article. I found it via Google and immediately incorporated into my feedreader. I am pleased to soon be back here to read again! greetings

  2. George Saufley says:

    Gossip is a tool to manipulate others and get a “rush” from it Look how the politicians, corporations etc use it to control the masses thoughts.

    G.B. Trudeau’s cartoon “Doonesbury” and George F Will’s article “A ‘cure’ for having character” or the lack there of describes perfectly the “viral” characters” of the “sharks” of many at the top of hierarchies, political institutions disrupt, distort etc. – anything to get their way be it a political vote, promotion or profit. They are great “role models” for the destruction of our social institutions, children and teenagers.
    We wonder why our teenagers are not motivated when our leaders can be paid hundreds of thousands for disrupting, stalling and wasting time to get what they want. These behaviors are observed in political activists, politicians, lawyers, corporations, agencies and civil rights leaders- there is no such thing as “no fear”, fair play”, or “equal opportunity with such “viral” political, legal or managerial environments. For example “A Jewish mother and a Catholic father battle over daughters faith” If one “rite of passage” is illegal then perhaps all need be illegal including all fraternities, sororities, religious practices etc. Excuse me “a rite of passage” is a “rite of passage” basic sociology, unless it includes violence- we are making too much out of this; the child can decide what faith she wants to believe in later in life. This is what happens when groups and individuals don’t think things through- they teach intolerance in the name of tolerance. Proof of how insane legal and social anomalies can be. There are millions of such “legal anomalies” that have been swept under the carpet in the name American Jurisprudence for the causes of “war” justice and progress. When it comes to “profit” could it be that our “killer whales” get more consideration than the masses. Don’t mean I want any harm to the killer whales; just a illustration how profits and power cause Stamford and Milgram influences to distort perception, economic justice and the use of anything from the “Jim Jones” mentality including drugs alcohol and “porn” to “opiate” the masses. Perhaps Karl Marx didn’t probe deep enough. Perhaps they all need to be exposed under the privacy act. Therapy is not using the health care system to create “zombies” that’s is malpractice. Perhaps “Aunt Martha” the field Rep. has something to hide if she thinks it should be used in that way. Health care is curing people and that including increasing their social awareness including throwing political, legal and social “insanity’ off the tracks if necessary. So you wonder why the people at the bottom of the hierarchy loose their moral compass? Perhaps someone needed to have written another book before 9/11 called the “The God Effect” how spiritual beliefs systems bring out the best and worst in people.

    “The Control To the ‘Stamford Prison Experiment” is how we imprison ourselves” in open society.
    Oops! I may be imprisoning myself with my “Joe Bidden” speaking HA! HA!

    “Perhaps the Moslem woman that got executed for believing that one can kneel at the Cross and pray to Mecca at the same time is a role model that has a open mind to the meaning ‘rite of passage’” 1

    1. Philip Zimbardo “The Lucifer Effect” Understanding How Good People turn Evil. Chapter 16 Pages 444 to 489
    2. Then there is the 13th Chapter of Corinthians- perhaps one can’t read one without the other.

    3. When one reads Lutheran’s Liturgy and comes the passage forgive us the things that we have done or left undone or not aware of could that be remotely referring Stamford and Milgram influences?

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