Words matter, regardless of who we think is listening!

Lady holding a X over her mouth

Lady holding a X over her mouth

Years ago, our real estate office use to have a kiosk in the middle of our local mall. We used it to advertise homes we had on the market. The agents from our office would take 2 hour shifts of standing there, for the potential to pick up buyers and sellers and just to answer real estate questions. Sometimes no one would talk to you during your whole shift. We’d get so excited when it looked like someone was actually going to talk to us, but most the time they just wanted to know if you could tell them where something was in the mall.

One day while I was there, two older gentlemen came up and started asking me about houses. The one that was more chatty, told me where his subdivision was and ask me a few more questions. I was excited to just have someone to talk to, but of course I was hopeful for a potential client, if not now, maybe down the road. Real estate is an industry where most agents are 100% commission. Like in most commission based jobs the more aggressive sales people tend to make more money. Aggressive was never my style. My strength has been more about building rapport with people at a pace they were comfortable with.

After we had been chatting for a while, he asked me if I knew a particular agent. He initially mentioned only her first name and then indicated he was trying to remember her last name. I started naming off some agents I knew with that first name and he suddenly acknowledge one I had said sounded right. I said, “yes I know her, she is actually a newer agent with our office”. The gentlemen that had ask me about her, said “oh, if she is new she probably doesn’t know what she is doing yet”. I immediately rebuttal-ed and said, “actually she had been our office secretary before becoming an agent”. I laughed and said, “there might be somethings she knows better than us that have been selling real estate for years”. The other man started laughing and told his chatty friend, “let her go and stop this nonsense”.  I didn’t understand…  Then the quiet friend filled me in. The man I had been talking to was this other agent’s dad! Both the men just laughed. They both said, “thanks for talking to us, but we’ll let you go”. The chatty man as he was leaving, turned back and as he winked at me, said “good job!”

I was smiling and laughing with these men, but I can tell you I was on a mental roller coaster! Replaying our conversation over and over, everything I had said, and how I said it. In my mind, I initially thought I was building rapport with a potential client, and even after he brought up this other agent, he didn’t seem to know her well. I was praying I hadn’t said anything I would regret getting back to this agent that was out of my office!

The former secretary, now agent was so apologetic when she saw me the next time in the office. She said her dad was such a character, but she couldn’t believe he had put me in that position. Of course, I played it off as no big deal. I told her he was nothing but nice but that I did appreciate his friend giving him a hard time for picking on me. We both had a good laugh about it. I was thankful that she went on to say her dad indicated I was very kind in all my conversation.

I remembered standing there in the mall that day, after my heart had slowed back to a normal heart beat and I had stopped replaying our conversation over and over in my head… I stood there thanking God over and over.  My thoughts were not as pure as the words that actually came out of my mouth that day, so I was thanking God that He had help me guard my words! There is a scripture that many refer to as the golden rule.  Matthew 7:12a (NLT) Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you!

I have tried to live most of my life putting myself in other people’s shoes. It helps in always trying to see the perspective of the other person, at least as well as you can.  Have you ever accidentally over heard a conversation where someone was saying something unkind about you? How did that make you feel, what emotions did that evoke in you? Now reverse that, have you ever accidentally heard someone saying something very kind about you? How did that make you feel, did it make your hour, your day, your week? If we are doing unto others what we would like for them to do to us… Our words matter! We don’t always know who we are talking to or who is listening!

Ephesians later part of chapter 4: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God (who is always listening and watching!) Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in God, forgave you.

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