I have spewed so much evil out of my mouth in my lifetime that I honestly don’t know how the Lord has kept me. More than regret, I feel shame and I feel sorrow. To be wise we ought to think before we speak, or we will surely regret it later. Then why is it so hard to do at times? It is because we are not yet wise.
I should know the impact that words have on others because I remember the impact they had on me. I still remember the hurtful, vile, demeaning, and daggering things that were said to me. Even as I have grown to know Christ, the words of people still linger in my mind.
I remember someone telling me in front of a crowd that I have a witch nose. I remember my stepfather telling me I had a nose like my mother and my mother quickly responding and saying, “I don’t have a nose like that!!!” I remember someone telling me to wear black because it was “flattering” for a girl my size.
The words are the baggage I should leave at Christ’s feet but don’t.
Words hold power. Not the “name it or claim it” power that false teachers speak about.
Proverbs 12:18 tells us that there is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Look, we can cut someone with our words or we can build them up. It is quite simple.
I wish we would remember that before we speak, but once let loose our words can never be undone. Words either pierce someone’s memory or pierce their heart. All it takes is one slip of the tongue and people are hurt, rumors are spread, confidence is compromised or your reputation ruined.
I was a single mother, with my oldest for many years. I was young, unsaved and severely depressed. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I pierced my daughter’s soul with my words. My tongue was a sword, and it was vile.
She has forgiven me since, but I wonder at times why. I don’t deserve her forgiveness. My words must still linger in her mind the way my mother’s words linger in mine — and I wonder how it affects her today. She won’t tell me, but I still wonder and pray God brings her healing from what I have wounded.
It takes a conscious, intentional effort to think before speaking.
God said to be sloooooow to speak, to be quick to listen. What you think doesn’t always have to be heard.
Proverbs 25:11 tell us that, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Wisdom will tell us what words are fit for purpose and which are not. If we are a person that “shoots at the hip,” then you are plainly unwise. OUCH!
The wisest person who ever lived, King Solomon, specifically told us that there is a time for everything. He said there is a time to keep silent, and a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7).
No matter how smart you think you are, remember this:
Proverbs 29:20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 15:28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
We can take heed to this godly advice and STOP for a moment, think before we speak, stay silent at times, or wait for more prudent opportunities to respond. If not, a time will come when we will surely regret it.
Will you pray with me?
Lord, please, let us glean wisdom from your words. Help us to think before we speak. Help us to speak only what is edifying to the hearer and that which will bring glory to your name. Let us hold our tongue if it is time to keep quiet. Help us to scream STOP in our minds to avoid speech that isn’t honoring to you and keep quiet. Thank you, Lord, for your help in this.
Forgive us for what we have made it.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!
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