One of the most significant struggles with communication for a Christian is the use of passive-aggressive speech. This type of speaking is marked by disagreeable statements, negative attitudes, non-active resistance, and avoidance of direct confrontation. It is the use of words to resist an idea or the person presenting it indirectly.
I hear people say things like, “It was wonderful that people came to your aid in that time of crisis. I really wish someone cared about me enough just to drop me a text.” Another time I heard, “I’m not mad, but I think it could have been handled better if you just used your head.” These are the kind of statements that destroy relationships in the home and the Church.
For many of us, it has slipped into our regular dialog so much that we do not even notice it anymore. Unfortunately, it should not be a part of how we communicate if we wish to form stable, Godly relationships in our lives.
One quest for a believer is not just to change the kind of words we use but also how we use them. Sometimes that means we need to keep our mouths shut. Other times it means we need to ruthlessly eliminate the passive-aggressive statements we have used since we were kids. The phrases seethe with anger, and we feel like if we use them backhandedly, then we will accomplish our goal without confrontation. In reality, we are building walls and alienating people, even in our own homes.
Christians are to use words that help build others up. We are to speak the truth in love. We are to be kind, gracious, and wise with the things we say. When issues need to be addressed, we do it directly.
Here is a simple challenge. This week evaluate your conversations and see how many times you are passive-aggressive in your speech. Know that one time is probably too much.