By Brother Michel Lankford
Here is a highly practical ‘how do I live Biblically’ question:
Question: How can I repent for saying bad things about someone who I don’t know? He lives in the apartment building where I live at.
So, keeping in mind the core precept that we need to use EVERYTHING as a teachable moment to remind us of Godly Principles (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 1:7-9; Psalm 1:1-3). Here are some keen ideas we can use to overcome in situations like this one:
- Recognize that you have a genuine heart problem: The Bible says that what comes out of our mouth is an overflow of what is in our hearts (Proverbs (15:7; Luke 6:45). That means if you are saying bad things, your heart has gotten off track somewhere. If you truly want to repent successfully, you will need to decide to CHANGE the heart attitude that causes you to speak as you do, even while you create an action plan to change your behavior. Otherwise, the repenting won’t hold firm.
- Confess the wickedness of your own heart (1 John 1:8–9). Look, somewhere inside you it must feel good, and you must feel somehow justified in talking badly about this person. Otherwise, you would not do it. Somewhere you believe that you are superior to this person, (which means that you are paying too much attention to their sins, (or whatever you don’t like about this person), and you are not focusing enough on overcoming your own issues). When you are spending your energy overcoming your own garbage, you no longer have the time, the energy or the inclination to focus on someone else’s wrongdoing. You would be too busy overcoming your own stuff to focus on criticizing others.
- Make the firm decision to repent. To repent means to CHANGE your thinking; to CHANGE your choices (purpose and intent); and CHANGE your behaviors AWAY FROM SIN, and then RETURN to God and to His Ways concerning the situation. That means that your action plans must focus on changing in those three areas, for your repenting to work no matter what sin you are trying to overcome.
- Choose NOT to SAY ANYTHING at all when it comes to that person. You can’t sin with your mouth by speaking unkindly against a person if you don’t speak when you are tempted to be negative. The old counsel is true. “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.”
- Remember that God is listening and that your words ARE a Salvation issue (Matthew 12:36–37). We will be held accountable by God for EVERYTHING that we say. Our words can condemn us, or our words can save us. So, if you want to remain in God’s Eternal and Heavenly Kingdom, then you have no other valid option, but you MUST develop mouth control. This IS a salvation issue (Psalm 15:1–5). Moreover, when you speak badly against this neighbor with no authentically good cause, You are BREAKING the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:34). You are not loving that neighbor as yourself. You are not treating that person the same way that you would like to be treated yourself (Matthew 7:12). Would you honestly enjoy it if someone else spoke against you the in same way you spoke against this person?
- Turn your temptation into a Prayer. I would like you to imagine 3 top blessings that you would want Almighty God to do for YOU. If you could ask Him for anything you wanted and you were GUARANTEED that He would grant it, what would you ask for? Keep a note of that. Now, whenever you see this person or you are tempted to think or speak negatively about them, start praying for THEM and asking God to give THEM the SAME blessings that you would want for yourself. In this way, you are actively OBEYING (Matthew 7:12), instead of sinning. In this way you are also obeying (Romans 12:21). Instead of being overwhelmed and controlled by evil, you are now overcoming evil by doing what is good. So, in one stroke, you are faithfully obeying two Bible Instructions, and God will surely bless you and honor you for your efforts. In this way, you have turned a temptation into a triumph. That is how you overcome. That is how you succeed.
Make Up Your Mind to ALWAYS T.H.I.N.K. Before You Speak
- Are You 100% certain that this is True? (Colossians 3:9; Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 4:8).
- Will it truly help the person or the situation? (Colossians 4:6).
- Will what I’m saying inspire the listener toward excellence? (Hebrews 10:24).
- Is it needful/necessary to this situation? (Ephesians 4:29).
- Is it Kind? (Proverbs 16:24).
Let us Pray:
Blessed are You, (יהוה YAHWEH) Almighty One, King and Creator of the Universe; Who sanctifies us with Your Commandments; Who established the days of our lives; and Who provides everything that we need for life and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
In Your Mercy, You have Promised that whoever calls upon Your Name, You will save (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 11:28-30; John 6:37).
So, I call upon you Abba – (יהוה YAHWEH) Almighty God. Mercifully save me according to Your Great Promise.
I humbly come to you, Yahshua (יֵשׁוּעַ) the Messiah. You are the Son of the Most High. You provided the atoning blood sacrifice for sin. Mercifully apply Your Atoning Blood Sacrifice to every word that I have ever spoken with my mouth. Mercifully remove every sinful word that I have spoken. Mercifully cover even the good words that I’ve spoken with the Righteousness of God and of Messiah. For my righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
I humbly come to You and bless You (רוח הקודש) Ruach Hakodesh/Holy Spirit. You moved upon the face of the deep in creation. You raised Messiah from the dead. I commit to You, my spirit, my heart, my mind, my desires, my will, and my emotions. Save me according to Your Unfailing Love. Please convert, transform, and fill my heart, my mind, my mouth, and my entire being with Your Unfailing Love.
Grant me Grace that I will only speak the things that are true. Grant me Grace that I will only speak the things that are helpful and beneficial. Grant me Grace that I will only speak the things that inspire myself and others toward excellence. Grant me Grace that I will learn to speak only what is needful, necessary, and beneficial to myself and to others. Grant me Grace that I will only speak that which is kind, according to the way that I would like to be spoken to myself. Mercifully set a watch and guard over my mouth so that I will not sin against You (Psalm 141:3). Save me that I may not sin against you (Psalm 19:13). Instead, grant that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart will always be pleasing and acceptable in Your Sight oh (יהוה YAHWEH), my strength and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14).
Mercifully help me to fully cooperate with You and Your work of Grace in my life, so that this prayer will be fully accomplished in me, according to Your unfailing love, and in Yahshua (יֵשׁוּעַ) the Messiah, Omein.
Brother Michel Lankford