MY STUPID MOUTH
Week 2: Watch Who You’re Talking To – Criticism
Words don’t just make noise. They communicate meaning, define relationships and impact your future. Our words can give life or take life; they can build up or tear down. What you say says something about you. In Week 2 of My Stupid Mouth, we discovered just how much criticism kills joy and destroys unity in our relationships. Whether they are negative or sarcastic remarks, or we start griping out of a spirit of jealousy, choosing to be more encouraging will change the quality of our words and our relationships.
1. Talk about a time when you were super jealous of someone else. How did you handle it? Did you remain friends? Did you become critical towards them?
2. Read Proverbs 14:30. This might bring to mind “Gangrene.” It’s a NASTY image! Gangrene isn’t a disease itself, but is a symptom of other diseases. Criticism is the same way. Are there relationships that might be rotting away like gangrene because the disease of jealousy has infected it?
3. The message Sunday encouraged us to be honest with ourselves and ask, “Am I truly happy for the good things others experience?” Do that now as a group. Remember, publicly celebrating others is the neutralizer to secret (or not so secret!) jealousy.
4. Read Luke 6:45. Many times, we let a single event make us bitter and critical about all of life. We can get to the point where we see something wrong with everything around us. Do you feel like your words usually reflect a heart filled with gratitude and joy, or criticism and anger?
5. Read Proverbs 26:18-19. The writer of proverbs is pretty colorful in his imagery here! Do you think he had experienced hurtful sarcasm before? Think about all of the “JK” moments in your life. Do you usually find yourself on the side throwing fire or catching fire?
6. Read James 3:9-12. Reflect on the words that come out of your mouth… especially the critical ones. What are they costing you… in your marriage? Your career? Your kids? Your friendships?
7. Am I ready to have a “filter change?” What are one or two steps that you can start taking right now to let God “clean out the filter” of your heart?
“…out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45 Remember that your words reflect something deeper. They expose our mindset, our attitude and our character. How can you start being less critical and more encouraging this week? Here’s a challenge: Find the person you are most critical toward and apologize. Let them know that you intend to be more encouraging, and ask for their forgiveness.
CHANGING YOUR MIND
So encourage each other and build each other up . . . 1 Thessalonians 5:11