Think Before You Speak
T – Is it true?
H – Is it helpful?
I – Is it inspiring?
N – Is it necessary?
K – Is it kind?
Each day, I am more amazed at the unkind and hurtful words people say (text, email) to each other. I have seen moms, dads and spouses say words to each other or their children and watched the person wilt and shut down right before my eyes. Some words we all know about like, “You are stupid,” “I hate you,” “What were you thinking?” “It’s your fault. If you hadn’t,,,,” and of course there are all the really nasty ones I don’t even want to write.
But what about those other words? You know, the negative ones where we just need to comment and give our opinion to show someone how wrong they are and how right we are. Oh, we try to sandwich it in between things like “that’s just my opinion” but the tone of the message and the way it is said literally says it all.
Then there are the ones who want to make sure that we have spelled all the words correctly, used the word correctly or pronounced the word correctly. I pronounce “you all” totally different from someone from the deep South. Does that make me right and them wrong? Of course not. I love listening to someone from the South talking.
The main reason for writing or speaking is communication. If you understand what a person is trying to say that is all that is important. What often happens is instead of listening to what the person is trying to tell us or write to us we are thinking of all the mistakes they are making and can hardly wait for them to stop speaking so we can correct them.
Or what about the words like, “Ohhhh you mean you didn’t breastfeed your children? I breast feed all of mine.” or ” Wellll, I only feed my children good healthy food!” Now that I think about it, I wonder why women over the years love to jab at each other and pridefully boast about how they are feeding their families better.
All of these are Pride with a capital P. So often, we say the hurtful things we do because we see ourselves as so much better than someone else or because we feel small and will say hurtful things to tear someone else down to our level, thinking it will make us look better.
Be careful with your words. Memorize the above chart and start pausing and thinking before you speak. Ask yourself is what I am about to say going to build the person up or tear them down. Check not only your words but your attitude.
Read the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. Underline all the verses mentioning words. I don’t know if the Bible has more verses about how foolish people are with their words or how foolish they are with their money but there are a lot of both.
Proverbs 12:6 “The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them.”
Proverbs 12:18 “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Photo By: Navdeep Raj