When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger.
— Ephesians 4:29 NCV
When you think about the relationships in your life—friends and acquaintances, family members, co-workers, or fellow students—is there anybody who has hurt you by what they’ve said? Their words might have been an offhanded comment or a momentary attack. Their words might have been just an aside, but they stung deeply and left you reeling.
I want to suggest six principles that often help me when I’d rather react or attack instead of listening to the one who makes me feel chided. Although the pain may not go away immediately (or maybe ever), the effort to apply helpful actions will see you through and keep you from giving up on that other individual.
1. Let the person finish talking before you say anything. Sometimes all the other person wants is to make her point known.
2. State back to the person what you think she said. We can easily misunderstand what’s been communicated, so try to repeat to the other person.
3. Own what you believe to be true about her words.
4. Thank her for being honest with you.
5. Try not to personalize what is not your problem.
6. Pray with the person to whom you have been listening.
Excerpted from Life! Celebrate It© 2006 by Luci Swindoll. Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson®. Used with permission. All rights reserved.