Before You Speak

This past Sunday I shared the message Words Matter. Perhaps we all need to be reminded ever so often that the words we use and choose are important. Honestly, have you ever been tempted to say something you know you shouldn’t? Have you ever said something you wish you hadn’t? Then James 3:1-17 provides us all a good push in a positive direction. James knew the power of the tongue for good or evil. So he reminded us to STOP and THINK before we speak. I would add this – when you do, learn to ask the following questions:

1.   Is it True?

We should resolve never to say something about someone unless we know it is true. The next time someone passes along to you suspect information on someone else, ask the following questions:

* You say “They say” –well, who are “they”?

* May I quote you on this? (Anonymous words spoken should not be repeated any more that anonymous letters should be read—and I don’t)!

* Would you mind if I got the person in question, so that they could hear, along with me, what you are saying? (It’s amazing how people stop talking at that point).

2.Is it Helpful?
If talking about a situation only hurts the situation, then why talk about it? Don’t be guilty of adding fuel to the fire! Never hurt a person by passing along hurtful information!

3.Is it Necessary?
Even if something is true, ask yourself before you talk about it, “Is it necessary?” Most of the time, the least that’s said the better.

4.Is it Kind?
Oscar Wilde said, “If you cannot say something good about someone, come over here and sit with me.” He was encouraging gossip or criticism and that is a bad idea. The rule of kindness should limit some of our speaking, shouldn’t it?

Finally, the late Marvin Gaye is known for the pop hit I Heard it Through the Grapevine. I would suggest to you that in the Church Family we need to prune that grapevine. In fact, cut it out altogether! Consider the instruction of God’s word before you speak—stop and think about it! Then remember: your words can encourage or discourage, build up or tear down, develop or destroy. That is why you must control your words. A loving heart and a disciplined mind will enable you to demonstrate kindness and wisdom through your words. So be it!

Devotedly yours,
Pastor Ron

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