Don’t say it. Seriously. Don’t say it.
“Will, I know I shouldn’t say this because I’m going to sound silly here, maybe even petty, but…”
I have heard many sentences start this way. They should stop. Instead of stopping however, the person speaking goes right on with a petty grievance, an unhealthy comment, a snarky zinger, a slight, or a direct or indirect attack on someone.
When the phrase, “I know I shouldn’t say this…” comes over our lips, we have the perfect opportunity to actually not say whatever it is we were going to spill.
Here’s a helpful hint. Actually, it’s a redirection. When you catch yourself saying, “I know I shouldn’t say this,” instead of continuing with the word ‘but’ and then going on with what you should remain tight-lipped about, say this: “I know I shouldn’t say this…” and pause before continuing, “so Lord, help me get to the bottom of what my comment is really all about, and then help me do something about it.”
Rather than gossiping, slandering, or spreading something that does not need to be spread, we are given, through the start of this all too familiar sentence, a way of letting God be God through us. Rather than tear down, we can build up; rather than allowing more hurt, we can begin a healing process.
When it comes to this sentence, we’ve all been in this situation more than once. Somehow, we feel it’s okay to rip apart someone or something because it’s in private, we feel it’s true, or it actually is true.
And we’ve all seen this. Too many relationships have been stressed or even broken over words that, so hot in the moment, should never have fallen from our lips.
So, the failsafe is really easy. Just stop. After you say, “You know, I shouldn’t say this…” don’t say it.
Sooner or later, you’ll catch yourself before you even say the phrase. This give you more time to do what we are called to do, which is become more Christlike. This also gives a great example to yourself and others on where and how you can become more Christlike.
When we turn to Christ rather than continue with the comment, something happens. That something is good. Actually, it’s very good because we have the opportunity to get to the heart of what really needs to be said.
Selfishness, childishness, pettiness, righteousness, injustice, greed, indifference, insecurity, or unresolved anger is at the root of the “I know I shouldn’t say this, but…” sentence. And this isn’t on the person or event you’re talking about. It’s on you. You’re the one holding the hurt. You are also the one who lets it continue out your mouth, and you’re the one to change it.
Think about this. Maybe you need to love yourself enough to openly and gently examine why you feel you need to share that sentence. After examination, and I’m just talking about spending a second or two on this self-check, you know, deep down, that the sentence, if released, is most likely destructive or hurtful.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Let hope and love come from you lips, not trash. When you find yourself about to speak what should not be spoken, pause, pray, and turn to God. God will do in you what God does, which is to make Himself known. And our beautiful God can do this beautifully through you.