Did you ever have to eat your words? Pull a stuck foot out of your mouth?
It’s too bad that the part of us that most often gets us into trouble is the part that is most often the quickest to respond—the tongue. No wonder James 1:19 admonishes, “…let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”
When is it best to remain silent?
- When you are not filled with the Holy Spirit.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;—Ephesians 5:18
- When you speak before you know the whole matter.
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.—Proverbs 18:13
- When you could listen and glean wisdom.
Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.—Proverbs 22:17
- When you want to gossip.
The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.—Proverbs 26:22
- When you are angry.
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.—Proverbs 15:1
- When you haven’t taken the time to listen.
Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.—Proverbs 29:20
- When you don’t have anything helpful to say.
He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.—Proverbs 17:27
BUT, if you must speak, try to THINK before you speak, and filter your words with wisdom.
T—Is it true?
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:—Ephesians 4:15
H—Is it helpful?
Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.—Job 4:4
I—Is it inspiring?
Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.—Proverbs 16:24
N—Is it necessary?
In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.—Proverbs 10:19
K—Is it kind?
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.—Ephesians 4:32
I wonder how our words today would be held or shared if we only spoke (or blogged or posted or tweeted) “that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).