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We like discussing people, especially in their absence. (It is called gossiping!) Well, how do you speak about others? What do you say about your friends and colleagues when they aren't in the vicinity? Paul teaches me in 2 Timothy 1:3-5 how I as a Christian should speak and think about others. Let us look at the three truths in this text:

a. Think of others and speak of them too when you pray

Paul writes in verse 3: "I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers". This is how Paul starts off with his good thoughts about his friend, Timothy. He does not think of his friend's faults. No, the first and the right place where Paul mentions his colleague's name behind his back is with God. That is not gossiping. Talking to God about others is exactly the right place to talk about them when they are not present. Do you do that for your friends?

b. Notice the good things others do and give them recognition for it

In verse 4 Paul says he keeps only good memories about Timothy in his heart, and he talks to him about the good times, not the bad: "Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy". Learn from Paul to keep the joy that others bring you in the front storerooms of your heart. Forget the hurt they sometimes cause you. Remember to recall and talk about only the good times. Do this and see how your relationships improve dramatically!

c. Notice the work of the Lord in other people

Paul writes in verse 5: "I have been reminded of your sincere faith ...". We often speak without thinking; we bear acid spiritual fruit! We focus on others' shortcomings when we think about them, and we expect nothing good from them. In contrast, Paul tells us that he sees the good in others all the time. What is more, he looks out for God's latest works in their lives. He looks for that which God has done in the lives of others and not for the mistakes they have made. Please note that our spiritual growth is linked to our preparedness to see the works of God in the lives of others. And uplift them by telling them what you see!

If you think about people the right way, you will speak about and to them the right way. Get your head together. Fill it with God's kind of thoughts about people. You will then want to say good things about them behind their backs.

Lord Jesus, thank You for family and friends.

Thank you for every person who enriches my life.

You are so good to give me people as gifts.

However, You know that there are a few people with whom I do not get along too well.

I pray for them as well today.

Change my heart and my attitude.

Let me be an instrument of your love.

May my thoughts and words be coated in heavenly silver.

Teach me to think right and to speak right.


God bless

Stephan Joubert