BlogsThoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral
By Gerry Mellors, Jubilee Church Wirral
Have you ever heard of the phrase “If you haven’t got anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all!”?
Of course you have. We will all have had that said to us at one time or another, almost undoubtedly when we were children.
But just because we were told it as youngsters, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to us as adults. In fact, it’s Biblical wisdom; this is what Paul had to say about it:
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:2.
And in Ephesians 5:4: “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”
It’s so easy to get sucked into gossip. I was talking to an old colleague recently and they were telling me about a conversation they’d had with someone we both used to work with. This former colleague of ours had expressed opinions about our ex-workplace which were completely at odds with mine. I found myself questioning my own thoughts, wondering if I had been blind and our mutual friend could see things I couldn’t.
And then I realised that I was being drawn into the gossip of others, taking interest in their idle talk, being unsettled by it and, worst of all, beginning to question my own positive perceptions.
God tells us in Matthew 12:36-37: “And I tell you this, that you must give account on Judgement Day for every idle word you speak. Your words now reflect your fate then: either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.”
We so easily slip into negative talk. I know I’m guilty of it. We must not forget that our tongues have a great deal of power.
James 3:6 “And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence–and is set on fire by hell”.
Scary verses! What I say can pollute my body? My tongue can set my course on fire? Two very good reasons to be really mindful of what’s coming out of my mouth!
Our thoughts very much affect our feelings, and the more we rehearse negative thoughts, the more we are likely to find ourselves feeling low and depressed. God’s word reminds us we need to do the opposite: it tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4) It tells us that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
It tells us:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Next time you find yourself thinking negatively – that God has let you down, that He isn’t there for you, that your life compares unfavourably with others’ – try instead to praise God for the good He’s done, the good you see, the good things you’ve received.
Next time you hear yourself complaining, try to catch yourself and speak instead of God’s goodness and faithfulness. When you hear others gossiping and complaining, don’t be drawn in.
I haven’t “got there” with this yet. I sometimes manage to catch myself thinking negatively and remember to turn my thoughts to praising God, but it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes I get stuck with self-pity and despair.
God talks about us renewing our minds: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2)
It’s a gradual process, and He’s gracious and patient with us. But let’s try and spur each other on to do this and encourage each other to be more like our loving God.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thess 5:11).
Gerry Mellors of Jubilee Church Wirral with her husband Arlo
In the month of remembrance, Chris on remembering what Jesus sacrificed for us and how we need to act on it.
Helen on the importance of Friends and what God has to say about them in the Bible.
Andrew on evangelism, how we are all evangelists whether we like it or not, and how to evangelise easily.
Dawne on the parable of the lost sheep and the lessons we can take from it as followers of Jesus and members of His flock.
Yvonne on loss and how God has helped her deal with the loss of her mum and the impending departure of her eldest son to his first job
Nicki on serving at Newday and the impact it has had on all three Frodsham children and many, many others
Simon on the frustrations of not being able to get to sleep properly, and the Bible verses that help him stand firm against sleeplessness.
Sylvia on being an encourager: “God knows our troubles. When we open up to Him, He’ll use other people to encourage us through His word.”
Lynne on doing what God wants us to do even when we really don’t want to do it – and why it’s important
Chris on the power of our words and how having a relationship with Jesus can give us the power of the right word at the right time.
Helen on why Psalms have taken the place of Proverbs as her favourite book of the Bible
Andrew Greenhalgh on being much better at giving advice than at taking it – and what happens as a result.
Chantal Robertson on how God and the gospel of Christ has never changed over time – even though the way we package it has.
Nicki on how she was planning to work in the marketing and advertising industry until God led her in a different direction.
Dawne challenges us to look at life with the enthusiasm, joy and exuberance of her Macedonian dog Floki and find joy in the everyday.
Jen on how taking the Alpha Course because she had nothing better to do on a Tuesday afternoon led to a life-changing wheelchair for her daughter Daisy and many others.
Gerry on how her ideas of what love truly is have changed over the years, and how love can be so much more than a feeling.
Matt Wilson on how God is weaving a tapestry – and knows what that looks like. He can see the big picture. Our part is to trust him with the threads he has given us.
Denise Griffiths on resolutions and why she has resolved not to make the usual New Year’s resolutions such as giving up chocolate, eating healthier or doing more exercise!
Vernon on the transience of life, and how, through all suffering, God’s steadfast love has the capacity to satisfy us every morning.
Andrew Greenhalgh on how he ended up going to church on Christmas morning for the first time at the age of 11 – and what it has taught him.
Helen on how preparations for Christmas vary from family to family and country to country. And what happened to Helen’s Lindt advent chocolates?
Nicki and Dave on how walking the streets and praying for our neighbours can lead to some unexpected opportunities to spread God’s word.