Proverbs 18:21 – The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit (NIV).
There is a lot riding on what you say, so it only makes sense to guard your words closely. And since nothing comes out of your mouth without having first been a thought, you need to think before you speak. Here are five questions to ask yourself in the brief moment your thoughts are transitioning from your mind to your mouth.
1. Is it True? Zechariah 8:16 instructs us to speak the truth to each other. Lying profits nothing for either the liar or the one being lied to. You could also ask yourself, “Do I want to be lied to?” I’m guessing not.
2. Is it Helpful? We are only to say what is helpful for building others up according to their needs (Ephesians 4:29). Recognize the needs of others, and then respond appropriately.
3. Is it Inspring? As Paul encouraged Timothy to stir up the gift of God within himself (2 Timothy 1:6), so to are we to inspire others. If you notice someone is struggling or shrinking back, be a source of encouragement to him. Celebrate the gift of God in him.
4. Is it Necessary? Ephesians 4:29 also says only to speak what is beneficial. If it’s not useful to your audience, it’s not necessary to say. You’d be better off quiet or saying something else.
5. Is it Kind? Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body (Proverbs 16:24, NLT). The adverse is also true: Cruel words are bitter—sour to the soul and unhealthy for the body.
THINK before you speak, and behold what life-giving words can do for you and your audience.
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