Have you ever heard the phrase, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”? You may have heard it from your parents, teachers, or members of your community. You may have even rolled your eyes when you’ve heard it directed toward you. After all, your tone is a way of expressing your current emotions when your words can’t do the trick. But intention should never be taken lightly. Your intention is the “why”, not just behind what you’re saying, but what you’re doing.

The thing is, we can move through seemingly Christian actions, we can try to be better, more balanced versions of ourselves. We can say the words, walk the walk, but is your attitude betraying all your hard work? It’s important to remember that God is not just looking for good behavior or false niceties. He’s looking at your heart and your mind. This is all to say if your attitude is poor, your positive words and actions won’t carry the same weight.

A Healthy Tree Bears Good Fruit

A healthy tree bears good fruit. How we choose to act, behave, and speak to others does affect the amount of goodness that’s produced within us. Negative and harmful internal feelings will produce a negative attitude and vice versa. Whereas a positive person will further produce more good. Reveling and cultivating the positive may feel difficult, it might even feel impossible, but it’s important to always try to fix the state of our hearts. After all, God wants us to build up those around us, not bare them down in the weeds of negativity.

Think back for a moment. Can you think back to a time when God tested your attitude? Maybe a parent asked you to do something you didn’t want to do or maybe a sibling or friend was getting on your last nerve. At that moment, were you tired and frustrated? Did you want to close yourself off from the world? Your attitude at that moment wasn’t hidden from God, just as it wasn’t hidden from yourself. We all have moments when we want to be alone and stew in our glum emotions. However, we shouldn’t feel we’re in the right when we’re feeling these powerful emotions, and it should never excuse a less than ideal behavior.

What Should We Be Doing?

It’s not enough to change your attitude from the outside. Healing starts from responding to what’s happening internally and dealing with the emotions weighing yourself down. So what should you do when you feel the stress, frustration, or sadness bubbling up on the inside? Internally express:

  • Forgiveness
  • Thankfulness
  • Love
  • Understanding

When you’re feeling emotionally spent, take the opportunity to recognize what the Lord is trying to teach you. These moments of anger and stress are teaching tools. God is, despite what you may be feeling, teaching you how to grasp onto love and humility inwardly, so you can express it to others outwardly.

Why Is This so Important to Healing?

Sometimes sharing a healthy and happy attitude is simple. Some people we just get along with, understand completely and find it easy to be ourselves around. Other times, it’s not that simple. Sometimes it’s hard to love people, much like it can be hard to love ourselves. It might even feel like those around you, even your friends and family, are more like your enemies. We may not always be able to control that feeling—and we surely can’t control the behaviors that others display toward us—but we can take responsibility for our own. Because our Lord cares about what’s happening within our spirit, not only what we’re displaying to others.

If you know you’re having trouble with your attitude, don’t be ashamed to seek help from an outside source. Sometimes that task of changing our lives for the better is too great to take on alone. Find trustworthy people who can help you assess what’s happening deep down. When you’ve lost faith in your attitude and actions, you can always ask God to help you take back control over your emotions. He might throw more challenges your way, but be grateful for every chance to strengthen your heart and change your attitude to better serve yourself, others, and most importantly, Him.