Watching our conversation

Conversation with others often provides the oppoturnity to help them. Isn't it important, then, to watch what we say? If we wish to do good -- and it is normal that we do -- we will strive to hold good thoughts, and our speech will express that goodness.

but this takes more than desire; it takes the recognition that good has its source in God. Right speaking begins with the perception that God is Mind, the source of all right thoughts, and that man -- our true selfhood made in God's image -- expresses these thoughts continually. This is the basis for God-directed conversation. The Psalmist was aware of it when he prayed, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strenth, and my redeemer." n1

n1 Psalms 19:14.

The more we have Godlike thoughts, the more readily we can detect and get rid of the contrary thoughts that would spoil the effectiveness of our conversation. It's easy to fall into the trap of saying what is negative. If we always complain, for instance, we are not expressing our true selfhood, and what we say is usually unpleasant to listen to. How do we correct this? Stop complaining! See that complaining is no part of our real status as the image of God. As we do this, we will speak the unselfed, helpful thoughts that others are eager to hear. We will, in a sense, let God provide our words. Try it; you'll be pleased with the results.

When we subjugate a mortal sense of self and express thoughtfullness, considerattion, good will, we bless others and bring the highest happiness. We are enabled to quash the tendency to talk excessively about ourselves, indulge in malicious gossip, or, worst of all, rehearse our troubles and moan about our problems -- all of which no one wants to hear.

When our motive is to express God through helping others by what we say, we will be alert to direct our conversation toward what is Godlike and, when necessary, away from physicality and its problems. The conscious effort to do this will lead us to say the helpful thing, perhaps to quiet thought and take away fear. The opposite effect is achieved if we yield to the common practice of talking excessively about the body and its ailments. The recitation of aches , pains, and fears tends to increase them, whereas the recognition that one's true being is divine Love's perfect likeness will lead us to say what is healing instead of harmful. If our friends are inclined to dwell on bodily troubles, we can often shift the conversation in an inoffensive way and raise the discourse to a more helpful tone.

This doesn't mean we should't be compassionate. Sometimes a kind comment reflecting an awareness that another is struggling, whether or not it is approriate to say anything further, can help him or her feel the strength God's love brings. Silently, though, we should always hold to the unalterable perfection of man.

Another area where many of us could do better is in resisting the tendency to criticize destructively. Mary Baker Eddy n2 gives this sound advice: "We should endeavor to be long-suffering, faithful, and charitable with all. To this small effort let us add one more privilege -- namely, silence whenever it can substitute censure. Avoid voicing error; but utter the truth of God and the beauty of holiness, the joy of Love and "the peace of God, that passeth all understanding,' recommedning to all men fellowship in the bonds of Christ." n3

n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.

n3 No and YEs,m p. 8.

The secret of good conversion, that which makes others anticipate our words with pleasure, is forgetting self and striving to help others. To this end we might ask ourselves, Am I resisting the temptation to voice what will depress? Am I saying what will lift the thought of others? We will do best when we remember the words of Christ Jesus, "It is not yet that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." n4

n4 Matthew 10:20.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. Isaiah 50:4

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