Vent and drain
So I decided that I would not bring you grief with another painful visit. For if I cause you grief, who will make me glad? Certainly not someone I have grieved. 2 Corinthians 2:1 & 2
Have you ever had a friend that always comes to you when they need cheering up? Someone who’s life seems to be drowned in drama. Even though you want to help them and encourage them, by the time it is your turn to talk, you are depleted and depressed because of everything they unloaded. It is probably never your friend’s intent to smother your encouraging words, but after they vent all that is surrounding them, you have nothing left to give. Their complaints and condition completely drained any words of wisdom you had to offer.
It’s ironic that we use these words: vent and drain, but this is exactly what happens. A ventilation system is made to improve a drainage system. Ventilation supplies air into the fixtures to stir up and move substance to and out of the drain. It is the same way when you vent your thoughts and feelings, you are actually stirring up and moving others either to confusion or exhaustion. Encouragement and inspiration gets flushed in the process most of the time.
Evidently, this happened to the apostle Paul when he wrote an earlier letter to Corinth. He starts the second chapter in 2 Corinthians by saying “I decided not to come for a visit because my words bring you all grief to the extent that I am not able to be encouraged because you are so sad. It sounds like Paul poured out his heart in a letter to them, but instead of his love causing them to rejoice, they were discouraged. It wasn’t because of Paul’s words; it was someone stirring up trouble and turning the intent of his heart against him. He says they need to confront and forgive this person so as not to fall into one of Satan’s traps.
This is how important words are. They can encourage, discourage or even stir up bitter and angry feelings. Words can heal broken relationships, or they can destroy close connections. The most important thing to realize is that you always have a choice on the words you speak. There is power in words and the very fact that you have the ability to choose which one to use verifies just how powerful they are. You choose to make matters better or to make them worse.
The solution? Put forgiveness first, then consider, carefully select and convey your heart in love. Paul said he wanted to let the people of Corinth know how much love he had for them. When you take time to consider the thoughts and feelings you are having and identify who you are most concerned about, initially it will be yourself. Usually when you vent it is all about your injured feelings and bruised ego. Consider how you can help improve your surroundings by the words you speak about them. Then carefully select the words that will build others up and bring energy to the circumstances. Lastly, always make sure your conversation will insert love into the people involved and don’t ever try to stir others to one side or the other. Look for peace always.
Today I want to encourage you to take ahold of your own thoughts and feelings before you vent them onto others. Recognize the first onslaught of hurt thoughts and feelings and reign them in quickly. Don’t let the enemy stir you up until you just have to overflow onto those around you. Pray and submit all of your feeling to your loving Heavenly Father and ask Him to empower you to speak life into the issue. If there is a situation that needs to be addressed, carefully choose words that will bring peace and strength into your relationships. Don’t make it all about feelings and offenses. Instead, look for a way to make things better. Decide that you will communicate love every time you speak and that will quickly defuse the one trying to destroy you, namely Satan.
Today’s scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 2:1-11