Speech is one of the most distinguishing gifts of man. The faculty of speech offers immense influence either for good or evil. Through speech we will affect people and the world. It is by speech that we communicate our thoughts to each other, carry on business, and improve our knowledge and learning. We have the glorious privilege to choose our words. This privilege is one of the main reasons we are to gain wisdom. The righteous speak wise words, (Prov. 10:14) and give life to people and situations.
Using the acronym THINK, ask these 5 questions before you speak.
T –TRUE – Is it True? Remember this rule about gossip: “The more interesting it is, the more likely it is to be false.” Proverbs 12:22 – lying lips are abomination to the Lord: But they that deal truly are his delight. We are responsible for what we pass along. Proverbs 20:19- He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore associate not with him who talks too freely. Chuck Swindoll recommends asking, “Can I quote you on that?” Beth Moore recommends saying, “Here’s what I like about that person. What do you like?”
H – HELPFUL -Is it Helpful? Will your words help bring about a solution to a problem? Someone coined the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Whoever said that could have never been more wrong. Broken bones heal much quicker than the wounds left by an out of control tongue. Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
I – INSPIRING – Is it inspiring? Will your words build up someone? Colossians 4:5–6 5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
N – NECESSARY -Is it Necessary? Do we have to say anything at all? Psalm 141:3 Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; Keep the door of my lips. Ecclesiastes 3:7. A time to rend, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; Calvin Coolidge said, “I have never been hurt by anything I did not say.” King David, after seeing how his words got him in trouble wrote this in Psalm 39:1, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth.”
K – KIND Is it Kind? Are your words based on a desire to help? Someone has said that great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people. Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: But grievous words stir up anger. Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love,
The change of speech comes from the change of heart. Jesus alone can change your heart. “How can you being evil speak good things?” Ask God to give you a new heart. Only then can you love and speak words that have eternal value.
Then, let only thoughts that bless dwell in your heart and mind. Silence your lips and tongue to all that wounds or is unkind. Every day, choose to present your body including your unruly tongue-as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:2) to be used by Him as an instrument of blessing.
Dear Father, forgive me for the harm I’ve done with my words. Set a watch upon my lips and control my tongue. Help me evaluate each thought and guard each word I say. May I use my words to encourage my family, friends, coworkers, and church members. Amen