Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.Colossians 4:6 ESV
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.Ephesians 4:29 ESV
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.James 1:19-20 NRSV
The need of the moment is wisdom in our speech. The world babbles on endlessly about meaningless things. It’s just noise. It distracts instead of edifies.
God created us with two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen to both sides of every story before you speak. When people are arguing, I like to say that they’re both wrong. We’re not supposed to quarrel. We’re supposed to seek understanding and agreement.
I don’t know who to credit for this next point, but someone once shared with me that we should THINK before we speak. That’s a stretch for me, so I do all my thinking ahead of time and just say whatever comes to mind in the moment.
But seriously, what does the acronym THINK mean? It means to check your motives. Why are you saying what you’re about to say? To build up or tear down? To edify and inspire or to get the last word? To build relationships or to nurse resentments?
Before you say something you’ll regret later, run what you’re thinking through the following test:
- Is it True?
- Is it Helpful?
- Is it Inspiring?
- Is it Necessary?
- Is it Kind?
As believers, our battle is with false belief systems. The devil and his lies have imprisoned the minds of the worldly masses into slavery to sin. The truth will set them free.
As ambassadors of Christ, we’re here to serve. That means helping others, not advancing our own agendas and building our own empires. Meditate on the example Christ Jesus gave for us to follow. He washed His disciples feet.
In a cold hearted and depressing world, we all could use some inspiration to keep going. The last thing we need to hear is more bad news and complaining. Words are meant to water the soul with wisdom to build people up.
Out of respect for others and their time, only say what’s necessary or needed in the situation. In our overly scheduled lives, leaving space for silence is a luxury few can afford. Treat people with respect, don’t waste their time with words better left unsaid.
Kindness is contagious. Start a movement right where you live, work and play. Be the exception to the rule of man. Obey God and His commandments. Speak the truth in love. Be kind. Be gentle. You don’t have to answer everything that comes your way. Less is more. The fewer words you speak, the more people pay attention to what you say when you do.
That’s my encouragement for you today. Think before you speak. People will love and appreciate you more if you do.
Once spoken, words can only be forgiven, not forgotten. Be a blessing, not a curse.
Lord, may our words only bring glory to You and not ourselves. Amen.
“Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”Matthew 12:33-37 NRSV