“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” may be the most shallow, ignorant lie I have ever heard in my entire life. The truth is that your words carry weight and can impact others in very significant ways.
Over the past few days, I have been thanking God for the wisdom and discernment He has given me on many situations in my life. Since a young age, I have always been taught to think before I speak. While this is a common piece of advice given to many, I can honestly say that this advice has been one of the most beneficial lessons that has shaped my life.
By now, most of you reading this have probably heard of the acronym for THINK:
(T) Is it true? (H)Is it helpful? (I) Is it inspiring? (N) Is it necessary? (K) Is it kind?
While this acronym can certainly assist you in your future communications, I want to take a moment to explain why it is critical that we think before we speak according to the Bible.
T – Is it true?
“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.” (ESV)- Proverbs 12:22
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (ESV) – Ephesians 4:15
H – Is it helpful?
Will the words you say help bring a solution to the problem?
“Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it. – Ephesians 4:29 (AMP)
I – Is it inspiring?
Will the words you speak build others up?
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (ESV) – Proverbs 12:18
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (ESV) – Colossians 4:5-6
N – Is it necessary?
Do I really need to say anything at all?
“The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words.” (MSG) – Proverbs 10:19
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (ESV) – James 1:19
“I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence.” (ESV) – Psalm 39:1
K – Is it kind?
Are your words based on a desire to help?
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (ESV) – Proverbs 15:1
As you let these Scriptures sink in, I want to encourage you to reflect on the words you speak to others; your spouse, your family, your friends, your coworkers, etc. Every word you speak has the potential to speak life or death to others. My prayer for you today is that you will take captive every thought and that you take your words to the throne of God before allowing them to leave your mouth. I believe when we THINK before we speak, we will begin shaping the direction of our relationships to be more like Jesus!