The second statement in our ‘Ten ways to love’ series is this:
2. Speak without accusing.
The verse: James 1:19: Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
I find this one very difficult because it’s so hard to keep accusation out at times. Because it’s more difficult to see my own stuff, I’m afraid I will have to use what I see in others as examples here. I am not casting the first stone, however, because I can accuse with the best of them at times.
The backhanded question
A certain person is quite good at speaking with accusation behind seemingly innocent words, usually in the form of questions. “Why is the front door open?” translates to “Why didn’t you shut the door, do you want to heat the whole world?” Implied (and often spoken after the statement) is the hard work trying to earn money to pay the bills while everyone else wastes money like it grows on trees. This is speaking with accusation.
I saw ‘evidence’ and, I know you’re guilty!
Sometimes, we speak with accusing when we haven’t received all the information needed. This one
seldom happens a LOT in relationships. If you’ve ever caught some of the Maury Povich type shows, you see people coming on with accusation oozing out of their pores! I saw a text on your phone, so you MUST be having an affair. “I only slept with 5 people, but I know you’re the dad. So why aren’t you stepping up to the plate to take care of YOUR child?” “I saw you look at her, you don’t love me!” And so on ad nauseam!!! This way comes by jumping to conclusions and attacking rather than waiting for more information and strangling him in his sleep DISCUSSING it in an adult manner.
How could you?
Sometimes, in a similar vein to above, we assume another’s motives. It’s entirely possible we’re wrong, but we think we can read minds, so…. Another person I know seems to be able to find a negative motive in most anything. I probably attribute good motives more than I should, but I’d rather give a person a chance than to assume wrongly. People have different love languages (and other filters), and sometimes they mean well, even if the results are not what they intended. For example, when my husband does something for me, like going to work every day or fixing a problem, he is saying, “I love you!” Because I did not understand this for a few years, I attributed wrong motives and didn’t believe he loved me. I was wrong and caused a lot of heartache to myself and him. Sometimes we can just accept people, and their motives, at face value.
Political Debates gone wrong
If you’ve ever watched a debate, and I use that term loosely. How often do you hear accusations flying? Uh, yeah, all the time! Rather than defending one’s own take on the issues, deflection techniques muddy the waters. Personally, I would rather hear what a candidate believes than the mistakes of his/her opponent. A person that can stick with the issues and not get sucked into the vortex of distraction gets my respect. This type of conversation (no matter who is doing the ‘debating’) should keep the focus on the person speaking and not the other person through accusation and idiocy.
We do this to children all the time. They bring us a flower and we yell at them for picking it. They want to hug us, but we accuse them of ‘bugging’ us or being to clingy.
The rest of the story
If you read the next verse in James, it says, “
20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
I memorized this scripture many years ago and use it often to remind me that my anger, accusations, judgments, etc. do not work God’s righteousness. In fact, they often get in the way and turn others away from God. In order to show love, it is necessary to tame that tongue and give thought to our words before we allow them out of our mouth. No one is perfect, but sometimes that extra second of thought will save some heartache for all.
Have you ever jumped to conclusions and wrongly accused someone? Have you rightly accused them, but to the relationship’s detriment due to the way you handled it? Have you attributed negative motives to someone and accused them by word or deed? Do you distract through accusation in a fight, debate, discussion, argument? Have you brushed a child aside and spoken with accusation to them? What are some other ways we speak with accusing?