About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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  1. My mom always quoted those three questions at us when my sisters and I were growing up. I now use them with my own kids. How I hope that they are transforming my own speech when my natural bent is towards “meanness with a cute skirt”.

    • Your mom was so smart! I wish I’d heard of them in this context when my kiddos were little, *but* I’ve still been able to refer to those questions with my big kids–and certainly with myself.

      Thank you, Marian. xo

  2. I cannot thank you enough for this. I tend to lean towards mean spiritedness, usually if I’m hurt or frustrated by another. Praying over my words each day, that they would bring Him glory and make Him smile. Like Prov 31, that we open our mouths with wisdom and kind instruction, or in my case just to listen and not always have to give an answer.

    So help me Lord speak what is true, kind and necessary.

    • I can lean towards it, too, especially when I feel justified in reacting out of someone else’s meanness. It can be hard for us grownups to remember these lessons, me as much as anyone. But I love your words that are an arrow pointing to Prov. 31. Yes! May we listen first and then open our mouths with wisdom and kind instruction. Thank you for sharing here, Dawn. xo

  3. As someone who prided herself for about 30ish years on her sarcastic wit and very much attributed it to my identity…I can attest that when you truly decide to be kind always and prayer for help in doing so, you can slough off the sarcasm and still be “you”. It also just feels better to know you’re not inadvertently hurting someone’s feelings. 🙂

  4. Thank you, Kristen, for your timely words. I recently lashed out at at one of those “sand paper people” . . . my frustration boiled over, unkind words spewed forth and, for emphasis, I slapped the tabletop. It was ugly. Part of me wants to claim my response to the non-stop goading and inane chatter was justified, but my heart bears the shame of my inexcusable reaction. It’s another reminder of how far I haven’t grown in the Spirit and my lack of self-control.

    • Well, it gets tricky when someone’s ugliness becomes toxic. There are scenarios when Mother Theresa herself would have a hard time showing restraint. But yes–balancing boundaries with words (if spoken) that are truth in love is something we all have to practice!

  5. A good acronym is to THINK before you speak. (I believe the credit for this belongs to Sharon Jaynes.)

    May your words be:

    T True
    H Helpful
    I Inspiring
    N Necessary
    K Kind

  6. Kristen,
    I could have used the egg visual some twenty years ago when my littles were pushing each other’s buttons. There’s something to the old adage – if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Jesus, however, did speak the truth in love. He said things that were hard for listening ears to hear. Finding that sweet spot is difficult. If we are going out of our way to be mean or judgmental, perhaps we have a little too much focus on self. God’s word speaks continually about having a humble heart. Less of me and more of Jesus. Great thought provoking post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  7. This is a really good reminder. I pray every day about this very issue. My most prickly relationship right now is with my husband. 24/7 companionship isn’t my favorite. So I pray for patience and kindness and a lot of quietness. Some days work better than others. I am, at 68, totally a work in progress. Thank you for your words and trying to aim me towards the right path.

  8. Thank you for the blessing shared today about mean-spiritedness. I will be sharing this on FB because so many need to realize that sarcasm is not acceptable and we all need to examine our hearts, our motives and carefully watch what we say. So many watch us as Christians to see what ‘those people are like’. We need to lead by example and share blessings instead of painful words disguised as humor. Remain blessed.

  9. We can all remember to think before we speak. Is is true? Is it kind? Is it pleasing to God. I am sure we have all said things we shouldn’t and been on the receiving part of those hurtful words. Words cannot be unsaid, they hurt clean to the heart and bone. Thank God for His Grace and Mercies for us.

  10. Kristen,

    I wish & pray that more people would THINK before speaking. Why do we find it necessary to pick out the “bad” things of a person like their hair. Who cares about how someone looks-maybe they had a bad night & are having trouble with children this morning. We would do well to put forth a huge effort to encourage & edify others. We all need a compliment now & then. So tired of the tirade going on. Let’s shower the world with more of God’s love & kindness.

    Blessings 🙂

  11. Kirsten, I love this so much! You’re so right, friend, and this is such a good reminder for us all.

    Also, this line: “Sarcasm is often just meanness wearing a cute skirt.” lol YES!

    And…I may just have to borrow that object lesson one day with my kids too. 🙂

  12. Kirsten thank you for a great word you have spoken. Great way you put things with the egg. Sometimes we can let our word come out of mouth out of the blue. When annoyed at someone because they have done something or said something to annoy or hurt us. So all of sudden we fight back with words that are not nice. When we should have went to Jesus in prayer and asked him to forgive the person that has hurt with their words. We should not have all suddenly said thoses horrible words. We then begin to regret or words. Say we don’t need to be nasty back because they have been nasty to us. I shouldn’t have said that. Would Jesus have wanted me to do or say that back to them because they were horrible to me. My answer probably would be No. So I have change. Remember that person probably is not saved. If saved they should have known better and not have been so horrible with their words. So I going pray and ask Jesus to forgive them and forgive me for my words too. Ask me to go out of my way to be kind in future. Not let when someone is horrible with words let them have me say something not nice back to them. But show them still the love and kindness of Jesus. If I need to say sorry to them say sorry to them for what I said. Ask them to forgive me. Even If the person saved or not saved. That hopefully they will see their wrong and know it was wrong and change. See Jesus in us. Say sorry. If saved they will see they should have watch their words. Say sorry ask forgiveness. We can be better Friends again. Learn from this to be kind to either. Not let it happen again that cause the horrible words to be said. Thank you for another excellent reading. Love you all incourage. Xx

  13. Beautifully written and put into context. I love the way you dealt with your son. Great words of wisdom too. I believe in the mantra, “If you can’t say anything good, then don’t say anything at all.” Makes a lot of sense when you think about it like your suggestion to “THINK” before we say something we may regret. Many thanks, Kristen.

  14. Encouragement actually provides uplift for the giver as well as the receiver (although that might be a tough-sell to a young boy!). It also fosters better outcomes than criticism. “Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (Proverbs 16:24). God always knows the best way!

  15. Thank you Kristen. Some wise words here! Now if I can just remember to apply them! 😉
    I love reading all your blogs! I get great enjoyment out of reading everything you write.
    I still need to get your book… I always say, I’m not a writer, I’m a reader!
    Blessings to you, from a soon-to-be great grandmother!