“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:19-20)
Our words are very powerful, they have the power to build up, and to tear down, the power to inspire and to dishearten, the power to encourage or discourage. Whether you are a parent, a family member, a teacher, a minister, or a friend here are five simple things to consider.
Next time before you say something you might regret, ask yourself these five questions. If the answer is “NO” to any one of them, you are not going to want to say them. Think before you speak!
- IS IT TRUE?
- “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
- “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19)
- IS IT HELPFUL?
- “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.” (Ephesians 4:29)
- IS IT INSPIRING?
- “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)
- “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:23-24)
- IS IT NECESSARY?
- “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6)
- “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment.” (Matthew 12:36)
- IS IT KIND?
- “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)
- “One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.” (Proverbs 22:11)
- “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15)
Another way to look at think before you speak is to consider how to reword what you have to say so that it follows what the Bible teaches us:
Because, “what goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth that is what defiles them.” (Matthew 15:11)
If we call ourselves Christians, “and yet do not keep a tight rein on our tongues we deceive ourselves, and our religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)
Therefore, “whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.” (1 Peter 3:10)
Remembering that: The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom and their tongues speak what is just. (Psalm 37:30)