We have all heard the phrase “Think BEFORE you speak.” Does anyone really do that perfectly?
James 3:2, we read “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. “
The challenge is to learn to control our words and use them effectively in dealing with others.
God created in man the ability to communicate with the spoken and written word. A lot of communication on a daily basis is electronic: texting, tweeting, blogging, email, chat rooms and other methods. Many cell phones are used more to text than to speak to another person.
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it shall eat the fruit of it.
Its kind of a BIG DEAL, but it seems impossible!
Well stay tuned. I have a handy ACRONYM to help us to work on this!
Before You Speak, THINK.
Letter T – Is it TRUE?
Sure, it’s true… I think
This seems simple, yet often is the fundamental principle overlooked by most people.
What is truth? God’s Word is TRUTH. [John 17:17]
Proverbs 12:17 He who speaks truth declares righteousness, But a false witness, deceit.
As a Christian, we should want to speak righteousness and not false witness. It’s important for us to know the truth of what we speak (or write) to others. We’re not going to converse solely in quoting God’s truth, so in the day-to-day, we should be able to discern what is true with the help of God’s spirit.
In the world we see all kinds of accusations, rumors, hearsay, and lies being placed on politicians, coaches, teachers and entire demographics. We all seem to think we know the truth behind something just because the bits and pieces we’ve heard make sense to us. Others have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, but often are not too concerned with the factual reality of it.
Recent political speeches have pushed the boundaries of how much ‘untruth’ can be crammed into a small time frame. Yet people determine what truth is in their own eyes based on what they want to believe, and spread that around all too easily.
As Christians we must be very careful to speak or write only those things we KNOW to be true and proven.
Repeating a matter, gossip, spreading ‘new truth’ and applying motives to people can lead to broken friendships, trust, church splits, and even violence.
Letter H – Is it HELPFUL?
Sure, to someone… maybe.
Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Yummy,
As Christians we need to question if what we are about to say or write will be helpful.
Some people have a knack for this: encouraging people who are hurting or sick. Others have some room to grow. And grow silently for others’ sake.
And certainly on the Sabbath, our fellowship should involve us speaking of ways to help one another and those in the community as well. Another way to be helpful is to make people laugh. We have several good joke tellers in our congregation and Proverbs teaches us that a merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, and when you look around after services there a many cheerful countenances!
Another aspect of being helpful is to speak about the word of GOD to one another and to those in the world who ask us of our hope! To do this we must study to be ready to answer.
Letter I – Is it INSPIRING?
It could be to someone… maybe
Proverbs 10:11 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but crookedness in it is a break in the spirit.
As Christians we should be aspiring to that level of communication, spoken or written, where we can inspire others. The scriptures make it clear that both physical and spiritual health stem from the proper use of the tongue.
We have a special calling to be a special and peculiar people. We have a unique opportunity to see God’s hand in our lives and to share those stories with one another.
We’re preparing for Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day and will be filled with inspiration from sermons, fellowship and stories of God’s intervention and marvelous works
Letter N – Is it NECESSARY?
If they don’t hear about this, then… well their lives will be about the same.
Proverbs 10:19. In the multitude of words, sin is not lacking; but he who holds back his lips is wise.
On the authority of Proverbs, I advise you to shut up sometimes!
We shouldn’t be long-winded or monopolize a conversation. Listen, and be ready to give a right answer.
For some it is hard to keep comments and stories short and to the point – and only offer the things that are truly necessary. We should try to say nothing in ignorance. If we are unsure about what to say we should keep it to ourselves.
Letter K. – Is it KIND?
Proverbs 25:11. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Our kind words can affect many in a positive way and are valued as apples of gold in setting of silver. Does our communication come across that way? Are we constantly [jokingly] mean or sarcastic?
I’ve seen derogatory comics posted online of President Obama and they are certainly not kind and very demeaning. As Christians, we need to be careful of what we say or write and make sure that it comes across as well intentioned and kind.
The scriptures tell us that “what is desired in a man is kindness”. Additionally, the virtuous woman described in Prov 31 “opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”
The power of the word (or speech) printed or spoken can be used to heal or destroy. We need to guard our tongues. We can look to the wisdom of the proverbs for spiritual lessons and guidance in guarding our tongues, and using them to convey words of truth, hope, encouragement, wisdom and love.
Brethren let us guard our tongues and remember:
T is it TRUE?
H is it helpful?
I is it inspiring?
N is it necessary?
K is it KIND?
BEFORE WE SPEAK, THINK