Let’s face it; we aren’t going to like everyone we meet. In fact, there are some people we are going to dislike. We don’t agree with everyone’s choices, some people flat-out confuse us, and others are just obnoxious. When possible, it might be best to keep our opinions to ourselves and bite our tongues.
There are times when someone’s actions or habits demand a response. Someone says something or acts in such a way and we feel the need to explain to our children, sharing the worldview or character traits which brought about such behavior. However, generally speaking, when we make comments on how others live their lives, what we are really doing is gossiping. We don’t like how someone did something and feel the need to give our own opinions. We can’t believe so-and-so had the nerve to do thus and so; so we spout off about their actions. We aren’t looking to make moral evaluations and warn our children of future dangers, we are being mean and unkind.
Our children learn from watching us; what they see us do and say. If we are being unkind toward others, they will begin to copy the model set before them and develop the bad habit of gossiping about others. They will learn to be critical, judgemental, unkind, bitter, and lack grace. While I highly advise using life experiences as teaching tools, we need to be sure we are evaluating for the sake of character training and not merely being critical. Pointing out unwise decisions helps our children make sound future choices. Condemning people with our words teaches nothing except unkindness.
Let us be careful with the way we choose to speak about people, both in private and in front of our kids. Let us speak with grace and mercy, dealing with others as Christ has dealt with us.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
~ Ephesians 4:29