Are These Authentic Words?

I recently sat with a dear friend who was unpacking some information that was dropped into her life. It was delivered with no ill will, but also with no consideration for the resulting consequences. And in this case, there was significant fallout.

Unwanted information and unexpected news can derail our plans and leave us feeling entirely off course. Depending on the source and the intent, we can also be left with broken relationships and even worse, broken hearts.

If you’ve ever fallen prey to the venom of an unruly tongue, you know the sting can be far-reaching and long-lasting. And let’s be honest, our own tongues could use a good taming every now and then, right?

Last week I shared how much I value authentic faith, and how it looks in our lives as believers. If our desire is to be honest and transparent with our whole life, then that should also be reflected in our words. Authentic words reach in, relate, and wrap around the heart that desperately needs to hear God’s truth. (←Tweet that.)

How Do We Speak Authentic Words? {}

Words are powerful, and the spirit and method in which they’re delivered can either be authentic or entirely self-serving. Our words can bear a burden and we need to consider their weight before we ask another to carry them. (←Tweet that.)

So how do we communicate with authenticity? How do we speak words that are a reflection of a life lived honestly and humbly before God?

  • Honest words come from honest motives.

If we can share words that are going to grow a person’s faith and point them to the goodness of God, we should speak up—and chances are they’ll listen. (Ephesians 4:29) Before we open our mouth, we should check our heart. Is our desire to speak truth or spread information (eg. gossip)? Will the recipient be encouraged and pointed toward positive action or left frustrated and confused? If the purpose of my words is to rid myself of guilt, prove myself right, or cause division, then my motives are far from honest. Authentic words leave the recipient grateful you spoke them. 

  • Words shouldn’t bring unwanted consequences.

We can find ourselves the bearer of information that doesn’t directly impact us, but could be a detonated bomb in the life of another. That’s called bad news. I don’t want to speak words that wreak havoc and chaos. Consider the consequences. If we know the words we speak will undo another person, we best re-route them. Maybe they are best never said, or maybe they just need to be spoken at the right time. (Proverbs 17:27-28) Authentic communication does not damage people.

  • Our words must be preceded and followed by our actions.

If we are going to share information, speak truth, or impart wisdom to another, we need to be prepared to link arms and go on the journey. It’s about them, not us. Our words must be delivered at a time, in a place, and with a tone that conveys our authentic heart motive. (Proverbs 25:11) We can’t drop words and run. We walk the path alongside our brother or sister in Christ until they feel steady enough to walk alone. We speak, and then we listen. If you can’t follow through, don’t start the conversation. Authentic people walk the talk.

  • Authentic communication begins with God.

It all begins and ends here. If we can honestly and authentically communicate with God, then doing so with people grows easier. When we pause and process (pray) our thoughts and words before God, we’ve invited Him into the conversation and allowed Him to direct our path. (Proverbs 20:18) Then any words that leave our mouth are filtered through His council, delivered in His strength, and backed by His spirit. If we can’t say it to God first, it’s not fit for public consumption. Authentic words are spoken with God’s blessing.

All of us have words we wish we could take back, conversations we would re-write given the opportunity. The most beautiful part of authentic faith, and so authentic words, is that it is laden with grace. When we misspeak (or misstep), God is willing and ready to forgive us if we’ll approach with sincerity and humility. The same can usually be said of people.

When we choose honesty with our words, we choose God. Might the words of our mouth be our offering of authentic faith before a gracious God. ♥

You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots:  Holly Barrett (#testimonytuesday), Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory)Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#threewordwednesday).

36 thoughts on “Are These Authentic Words?

  1. Such good thoughts here, Tiffany. I especially love this point, “If we can honestly and authentically communicate with God, then doing so with people grows easier.” I don’t think I’ve ever thought that before or related to that scripture, but I treasure this truth! So much goodness here to soak in, as always. Your words never fail to bring Truth and Light with unabashed grace. I just adore you. <3

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, friend. God is the safest and most gracious spot to pour out our hearts, and prayerfully practicing before Him gives us permission to be authentic with others…and they feel permission to close that loop. Always love to hear from you, Meredith. I adore you right back. xo

  2. Authentic is one of my favorite words when it comes to pairing it with friendship and faith. This is a fantastic offering of grace, Tiffany, and so profound. Some times we need the reminder of these heart truths because the reality is that we will all find ourselves in the same exact place where the download is more than we are prepared to process. Fantastic encouragement!
    Many thanks and blessings,

    1. “The download is more than we are prepared to process.” Such a great way to describe what it feels like to face unexpected news. We shut down, don’t we? So glad that God is that safe place for us to process and that He is faithful to sift through our own words and the ones others leave with us. May we always choose His truth. Thanks for visiting, Dawn.

  3. As someone who has gotten herself in plenty of trouble using way too many words, I really appreciate this encouragement. Thanks for being authentic and pointing to God. And thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday. xoxo

  4. I’ve been both the victim and the deliverer of “hit and miss” words. (I like what Alecia said!) Sometimes it’s easy to think that just because we know something, we need to communicate it, but as you say, sometimes it’s better to pray and wait, wait until we know we know that a conversation really needs to take place and that we have adequate time for it! Thanks for your wisdom here!

  5. Good reminder, friend. I’ve been the victim of hit and run words and I know I’ve been the offender. I think relationship is key to speaking words into people’s lives.Without relationship and love we will usually end up offending. I have to remember to give grace when I’m hurt, just as I would want if I was the offender.

    1. Such a critical point, Alecia. Relationship is a huge piece of that heart motive and being sure we are invested in the person we are speaking with. Otherwise yeah, hit and run words could really wound. Thanks for visiting today and adding to the conversation.

  6. I love that “Authentic communication begins with God!” How true this is and something I’ve never thought about before. In fact, it leaves me a little convicted over words that I’ve spoken too quickly – out of impulse – that’s left myself and the person on the other end feeling less than what I certainly intended. I’m sure there would be fewer apologies if I took this approach first. I tend to do this before conflict resolution – but perhaps if I took this approach to begin with there would BE no conflict to resolve.

    I’m going to read through this again. I’m loving this post, friend!

    1. The autopsy of the conversation…we can run ourself ragged dissecting the words that we can’t take back. But there’s grace and growth and prayerfully both better equip us for future “chats.” But God…I love that He’s ready and willing to hear us and direct our words, and so our actions. Great to see you here, friend!

  7. Hi Tiffany,
    I was on your wavelength this week as I wrote about the power of our words, too! I am a practical truth-teller by nature and curbing my words to be uplifting and hopeful is a practice I am working on! I love what you write about authentic communication beginning with God — so much truth in this post — God’s truth and lovely truth!

    1. I’m looking forward to reading your perspective, Valerie. Practical truth tellers are so necessary, and pairing that with a desire to uplift just speaks volumes about your heart. 💛

  8. Good stuff here, friend! Your words have gotten me thinking about some conversations I have had lately and how I could have done them better. I’m going to tack up these words: ” Will the recipient be encouraged and pointed toward positive action or left frustrated and confused?” Something I need to remember and keep in front of me!
    Thanks for these words! (Stopping by from #TellHisStory) Have a great day!

    1. Thank goodness there is grace to cover those past words. And second chances often come around too. Its my prayer as well that I can use discernment in my words so that they uplift rather than undo. Always great to chat with you, Rachel. Hugs.

  9. This is a beautiful reminder today of the importance of authenticity in who we are and how we present ourselves to others. I loved everything about this post and how you left us with some real reflections on how to develop authentic communication. I especially like how you said we need to put our actions behind our words. It is easy to talk the talk but not always walk the walk.

    Thank you for this reminder today. Blessed to be your neighbor at #TellHisStory

    1. I’m so glad we were neighbors too, Mary. Our good intentions can sometimes get shadowed behind our lack of action. I’ve learned how important it is to not only speak truth but live truth. So grateful God always gives us more opportunities to put what we learn into practice! Blessings to you.

  10. YES! to all of this. It’s so easy to respond in anger or frustration whether is on our own behalf or for a loved one. It’s important to realize that we truly to have the choice to stop and consider if we are responding out a peaceful heart or an anxious heart–that alone makes a huge difference. I just had a conversation with my son last night and we decided that we want to focus on listening over responding in our communication with one another. There is always room for growth as we engage in authentic communication with one another. God is our guide! Visiting from #TellHisStory :)

    1. Love that – we never stop growing, do we? And the fact that you and your son can share in the value of that process is such a blessing. Listening is huge and we often get so caught up in our words, we forget that there is someone else who desperately needs to know they are heard, by us and by God. Thanks for visiting me today, Angela.

  11. Tiffany, what a practical, truthful post. Words have such power over hearts. I love your exhortations for us to search our own hearts before we speak. I also appreciate that you encourage us to—when we do have to speak a hard truth—be available to also listen and help the other person as they grapple with the words spoken. There are times when hard truths must be shared, but the way you encourage it to be done is the key to those truths being better received . . . over time, if not immediately.

    Such wisdom here, my friend!

    1. Thanks, friend. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to two people exchanging words, but if we can share our heart in the midst of them, the hope is that they will be received with the intended spirit. And as believers, prayerfully that spirit is grace and truth. Always so blessed by what you add to the conversation, Jeanne. Hugs.

  12. Beautiful words, Tiffany! :) I hope my words (more than ever before) leave people feeling empowered and loved. My kids, my husband, my friends, my family, and those I’m called to encourage. Words are so powerful! I pray that God will continue to teach me to use them wisely. :) Blessings!

    1. Me too, Tasha – it’s the cry of my heart to use authentic words especially with the people I hold nearest and dearest. So grateful God never stops teaching us, and never stops forgiving us for those slip-ups. So great to see you today, friend.

  13. Thank you for this necessary, insightful post, Tiffany. As I read it, I was reminded of Psalm 19:14 – “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” I have often prayed this in my life. And thanks also for the reminder of God’s grace and forgiveness for the words we shouldn’t have said. I’m so sorry for your friend!

    1. Yup – that’s the verse that was rolling through my head, particularly the MSG translation. Words and thoughts surrendered to God first make our actions that much more powerful…and pleasing. And thank you for thinking of my friend – I’m grateful we could find safety and promise in God together. Thanks for visiting me today, Trudy.

  14. Words as an offering ~ yes. You know, Tiffany, fear has a bit of a wrangle on mine at times. But fear is nothing in the face of God, right? I love your last bullet point: “Authentic communication begins with God.” Yes & amen! Going to ride with that one until the sun goes down. Love your words of encouragement today.

    1. Fear is a vicious opponent, Kristi. I know it too. I think that’s why going before God first and checking our motives is so important. When we’re honest and have God’s strength and spirit on our side, fear has a way of slipping into the background as we move out of the way and let God speak through us. So glad that you were encouraged, friend. Always a delight to see you here. xo

  15. Tiffany, I love this! All of your points are so important when we need to deliver an “authentic” message to someone. I’m always hesitant when I have to tell someone something that I know is necessary, but could potentially be hurtful. I love your first point of honest motives. I always have to check my motives during these times to make sure my heart is to see them win and not just “correct”. Thanks for sharing! This was a great read!

    1. So glad that you found it helpful, Alisa. It can be hard to speak truth, even if we’re prepared to do it with grace. I think when our heart is right and we’re willing to share it with another, they usually are grateful that we cared enough to do so.

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