‘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 NIV)
Have you ever blurted something out and then immediately regretted saying it? I know I have. I realised as the words were coming out of my mouth that I should not be saying them but it was too late and I couldn’t pull the words back into my mouth once they have been spoken. There is an old saying that I learnt at school,
‘Sticks and bones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.’ The trouble is that’s simply not true. Our words can be a great source of comfort, encouragement and restoration, but they can also cause pain, suffering and hurt. Truly as the proverb advises us,
‘The tongue has the power of life and death…’ (Proverbs 18:21).
Another saying I learnt when I was young was,
‘Think before you speak’. Regretfully it is not one that I have always followed, but I have found that it pays dividends when applied. In fact the word ‘THINK’ is a very useful acronym to use before we say something:
T – Is what we are going to say true?
H – Is what we are going to say helpful?
I – Is what we are going to say inspiring?
N – Is what we are going to say necessary?
K – Is what we are going to say kind?
If it doesn’t pass the THINK test then perhaps it is better not said. But if it does we will find that
‘The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewellery’ (Proverbs 25:11, The Message) and can bring healing to the hearer
Father, may I be quick to listen and slow to speak, thinking carefully about what I say so that my words will be helpful for building others up according to their needs, and that they may be beneficial to those who listen.
Have a thoughtful week,