Unchecked words that come too fast bring with them a torrent of trouble. That’s why it’s important for us to consider these three things...
"The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences." Proverbs 18:21 (NLT)
I have some opinions.
I have some thoughts.
I have a plethora of words that beg to be spoken.
And if I’m not careful those words can be too much. Maybe you can relate.
Unchecked words that come too fast bring with them a rush of trouble. That’s why it’s important for us to consider three things with our words …
1. Listening should take precedence over speaking.
Honestly, I think a lot of relationship troubles could be solved if we made the commitment to listen more than we speak. Gosh this is hard, isn’t it? Sometimes when I’m listening to someone all I can focus on is when I’m going to be able to jump in and say what’s screaming in my brain. Later I realize all that focus on my next words prevented me from really listening to what they were trying to say.
What if I made the commitment today to do more listening than speaking? I’m going to challenge myself to not interrupt. Wait until there is a true pause in the conversation. Truly consider what the other person has said. And then respond with care.
"To answer before listening — that is folly and shame." Proverbs 18:13 (NIV)
2. Words should be measured.
I need to engage my brain before I engage my mouth. Just like I consider how a purchase will affect my bank account, I have to consider how words will affect my relationship account. I can do this by thinking about how my words will come across and intentionally asking myself if there are better words that could be used in this situation?
"Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions." Proverbs 18:2 (NIV)
3. Once words are spoken, I can’t un-speak them.
Once words come out of my mouth I can’t gather them back in. It’s like once you squeeze too much toothpaste out, you can’t get it back into the tube. Now certainly, I can quickly say I’m sorry. I can ask for forgiveness. I can attempt to make the wrong right. But I can’t un-speak my words.
"The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences." Proverbs 18:21
If my greatest desire is to honor the Lord with every word I say and interaction I have, these three things are crucial for me to keep in mind. Instead of allowing my flesh reactions to lead me, I’ve got to boss my thoughts and opinions around using God’s Truth.
Dear Lord, I always want my words to reflect the fact that You live within me. But sometimes my first reaction isn’t as God-honoring as it should be. Help me to keep these three perspectives in mind as I deny my flesh response and follow Your teaching in this. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 10:19, "Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues." (NIV)
Galatians 5:16-17, "So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Consider the three points Lysa gave in today’s devotion. Which of these speaks to you the most?
Choose one point and determine to implement it in your conversations and responses this week.