BEFORE YOU SPEAK: THINK.
I came across this
little gem on Pinterest.
King David has a great prayer embedded in Psalm 141:3 “Set a
guard over my mouth, Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips.” This is a
clear reminder that every thought does not have the right to pop out of
my mouth unexamined. As I am a gal always in search of specifics, I was
delighted to see this ‘pin.’ Now I had some guidelines for that guard on my
mouth. It puts some meat on the bones of David’s prayer.
Now, I have lots of opinions on a wide range of topics. What
I think about Health Care in America is one thing. What I think about my
neighbor is something else. That’s what I want to talk about today.
Have you ever been in a situation where you are at a party,
or a meeting; and the topic of conversation shifts to talking about a certain
person? It might be about the qualities of the newest teacher at school. Maybe
someone’s child is in trouble.
Human nature is telling you to chime in with what you know
about it. Well, maybe you don’t know a lot about it, but have heard plenty.
You’re ready to offer that for discussion. In situations like these, this little mnemonic can really help.
Is it True?
There’s plenty of chatter out there, but who knows what is
true? Maybe if what I know is offered for discussion, the truth will come out?
You know, it’s a better thing to just zip it. If I am not
sure of what I know, I might say something that will damage someone’s
Is it Helpful?
If you are having troubles in a relationship, and you
express those to me, it’s my job to listen. It is not my job to ‘pile on’ what
I think about your relationship. I may know five other people who are having the same problem that you are having. But how is talking about that going to help you? It
would only make your pain look common and small.
It also puts a spotlight on what I know and me. That is not right. I should be here for you.
Is it Inspiring?
Isn’t this a challenging question? My words should serve to
transform a conversation. My words should reach out to reassure and motivate.
Wow. That puts it in perspective, doesn’t it?
I think if everyone asked themselves this question, there
would be many more happy, supported people in the world.
Is it Necessary?
Sometimes, when I write on a subject, I end up editing over
half of what I produce. I begin to see that the content is repetitive or just
not that important to the theme.
Wouldn’t it be great if I could do the same thing when I
speak? Am I repeating myself, or parroting what someone else said? Am I talking
just to hear myself, or to look like I’m making a contribution?
Silence can speak volumes. “A fool vents all his feelings,
but a wise man holds them back.” (Prov. 29:11) You know why? Sure you do…it’s
just not necessary.
Is it Kind?
Kindness is charitable, gentle and tolerant. Many times, the
truth is none of those things. Truth is not always pretty; a fault-filled piano
recital, a gift given that you could never use, a lovingly cooked dinner burnt
to cinders. What can you say about these little calamities?
I should choose kindness. The little pianist has a lot of
guts to get up in front of everyone. The gift was give with time and effort
invested and that is the beauty of it. The ruined dinner is a time for hugs and
maybe a little laughter. (And probably take-out!)
The book of Proverbs wants me to “pay attention and gain
understanding.” (Prov. 4:4) The 'book of Pinterest' helped me see better how to do it. You never know where the wisdom of God will find you, right?
Next time I am faced with 'should I speak?' or 'should I keep quiet?', I believe I'll T.H.I.N.K. first!
Labels: kindness, speak, think