One of the ways you can tell if being prideful is a big part of your daily battlefield is by the words you use. Or, rather, the words you don’t use. At least as part of your regular flow.
If people are not hearing these statements from you all the time, there’s a problem. A big, fat heart problem. But speaking them freely and graciously is how we keep spiritually balanced and close to God’s heart:
“I was wrong.” Nobody wants to be wrong. But we all are sometimes…and we hate to admit it. A hearty admission of wrongdoing, especially when coupled with a genuine “…and you were right”, does amazing things for the soul. Not to mention the friendship.
“Can I help?” Looking for ways to help and serve is one of the surest ways to genuinely pursue humility.
“Help me understand.” This is a posture of great vulnerability. It honors the other person. It dignifies differences. It levels the playing field by quickly affirming the journey of another.
“Do I really need to say this?” This is the ultimate self-talk. This question should be asked before you ever open your mouth or post a comment for any kind of public viewing.
“I believe in you.” Such a simple affirmation. In a world where failure and rejection and hopelessness can attack anybody at just about any time, these four words can bring life.
“Don’t give up.” Life is difficult. It’s easy to be afraid. The temptation to quit is always near. Sometimes the only thing a person needs is encouragement and the challenge to dig deep. Again. Do your words inspire and give hope?
“I’m different, not better, than you.” This is the essence of cross-cultural navigation. These are not just words…they are a lifestyle. Does your attitude and demeanor communicate honest love and acceptance…or judgment and superiority?
“I don’t know.” We have just got to stop acting like we know everything. The quickest way to shut down conversation is to act and talk like a know-it-all. Sometimes, our willingness to expose our ignorance is exactly what is needed to open the door.
“I’m sorry.” This expression of vulnerability and honesty is the ultimate in bridge-building. These two words breathe hope and restoration. They are the oxygen of relationship. They speak volumes about the condition of our heart.
So what do you think? Are there any other words you would add to the list?