When you speak, are your words helpful? Encouraging? Edifying? Are they hurtful? Judgmental? Arrogant?
The Bible teaches us so much about our words. It gives us instruction about how and when to speak. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19), “No unwholesome words, just words for encouragement” (Ephesians 4:29), “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions” (Proverbs 18:2), “speak truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), and so many others!
“The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21). We need to be careful how we use it. Too many times we say what shouldn’t have even been said out loud.
Here is something helpful when deciding if you should say something.
T – H – I – N – K
T – is it TRUE?
H – is it HELPFUL?
I – is it INSPIRING?
N – is it NECESSARY?
K – is it KIND?
If it is none of those things, why do I want to say it? Is it to defend myself? Is it to talk about me? Is it to show I’m superior in some way?
If that’s the case, don’t say it! We don’t always need to tell someone our motives, our experiences, or our stances on certain topics.
If you are in a conversation with someone and they ask, then share. If they have not asked, listen. Even more so, listen prayerfully. Ask the Lord if there is anything He wants to say and pray with them about the situation. Do not pray with your own agenda, but that of the Lord.
And lastly, pray for yourself. Ask the Lord to teach you when to speak and when to stay quiet.
Our words should be said out of love and reverence and should not be used maliciously, intended or not. “A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart” (Luke 6:45). Let the overflow of your heart be kindness, truth, and love.
Father, please help me with my words. Help them to edify and lift up. Help my words be an encouragement to others, honey to their souls. If what I am about to say will cause someone to stumble or hurt, cover my mouth. If I need to have a difficult conversation, help my mouth speak truth in love. Don’t let me come into the conversation with my own agenda. In your name, Amen.