- Always say less than you think. Cultivate a persuasive voice that rises and falls mainly in the mid-range of speech. Let your high trill and resounding bass be the spice of your speech, relished for their rareness. Remember that how you say anything often counts more than what you say.
- Make promises sparingly and keep them faithfully—no matter what it costs you. Making promises requires balance, forethought, and divine guidance. Make scarce your need for requests for divine intervention because of promises that were carelessly made.
- Never let an opportunity pass to say a kind and encouraging word to somebody or about somebody. Praise good work done, regardless of who did it. Criticize both friends and foes constructively and sparingly.
- Be interested in others: their pursuits, their welfare, and their homes and families. Let every person you meet, however humble, feel that you regard him or her as a person of importance who has potential to do great things for God.
- Be cheerful. Keep the corners of your mouth turned up. Tuck your pains, worries, and disappointments behind your smiles, so that God can shine through your life while He works out your challenges. Laugh at good stories; learn to tell good stories.
- Preserve an open mind on all debatable points of view. Take advantage of these questions to work in the spirit of discovery. Discuss, but do not argue. Spirit-led people disagree agreeably and know when to apply Hosea 4:17.
- Let your virtues speak for themselves. Don’t blow your own horn. Refuse to talk about anyone else’s vices. Discouraging gossip can help prevent you from being on the wrong end of stories. Make it a rule to say nothing but good about your enemies, and soon you may have none.
- Be careful about other people’s feelings. Wit and humor at another’s expense are rarely worth the effort, and may boomerang back to you when least expected and at your lowest point of tolerance or endurance.
- To best defend yourself against gossip, pray often and live a consistent godly life by submitting yourself to the Holy Spirit’s consistent housecleaning. Frazzled nerves and indigestion are claimed as common causes of backbiting.
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists