THINK before you speak

Think before you speakRecently the Office Manager at Carolina College of Biblical Studies, Pam Recod, shared an intriguing acrostic based on a statement that she has shared with her children as they were growing up. The words of wisdom that she imparted centered on this statement: “THINK before you speak.”

When written as an acrostic, the word “T-H-I-N-K” was broken down into a series of questions.

Instead of reflecting on the Verse of the Day for June 28, 2014, I have composed a devotional based on the statement: “Think before you speak.” I then looked for scriptures related to each of the questions asked in the acrostic.

“THINK before you speak.”                                            

This particular statement immediately brought to mind James 1:19:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

The Amplified Bible renders the verse in this way:

Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry

Proverbs 17:28 in the Amplified Bible makes this astute statement regarding speaking, or rather, not speaking:

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent

Proverbs 23:7 (AMP) also speaks of the center of our thoughts:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. As one who reckons, he says to you, eat and drink, yet his heart is not with you [but is grudging the cost].

This verse is coupled with this sobering reminder from Luke 6:45 in the Amplified Bible:

The upright (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright (honorable and intrinsically good), and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.

Philippians 4:8 instructs believers as to what they should think:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things

Every believer is to be conscious of what that individual thinks. We are reminded to control our thoughts. Paul exhorts us to “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We must never forget that “Thoughts are the seeds to our words and deeds.” We should, therefore, always “Think before you speak” and ask these questions:

T     Is it true?

In every situation we want always to speak the truth, and so we ask this question before we open our mouths in response: “Is it true?” We are always looking to the Word of God as our standard for what is true:

Psalm 19:9 declares:

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

Psalm 119:160 reiterates this truth:

Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

Whenever we open our mouths to speak we want to be a “true witness,” as Proverbs 14:25 indicates:

A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.

Jesus Christ made this statement in John 17:17:

Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.

H   Is it helpful?

The words that we speak should be helpful, as Romans 14:19 reminds us:

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

Colossians 4:6 also offers this encouragement regarding the words we speak:

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Ephesians 4:29 reinforces the same message:

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   Is it inspiring?

The words that we speak can build up or tear down; they can encourage or discourage. Before we speak, we should ask, “Will what I say inspire and motivate those who hear me?”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 offers these words of encouragement:

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do

Believers are also exhorted to “admonish one another” in Romans 5:14

And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

A similar expression is used in 1 Thessalonians 5:14:

And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.

A Bible study from Xenos Christian Fellowship explains that to admonish is to “apply moral correction through verbal confrontation which is motivated by love.” We should always endeavor to speak the truth in love which involves “Communication of God’s truth in love in ways that strengthen Christians to go on following God’s will.”

N Is it necessary?

Although the Scriptures encourage us to always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks (I Peter 3:15), we may encounter situations whereby we should “hold our peace” and say nothing. Indeed, there are occasions when it may not be necessary to say what we have in mind. Indeed, Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time to speak and a time to refrain from speaking.

In exercising the grace of God, some believers may feel that they can say whatever they think whenever they want to. 1Corinthians 10:23 calls to our attention this truth:

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

In life we all may encounter situations where it may be better to say little or nothing, as we ask, “Is it necessary?”

K Is it kind?

Most remarkably, what we put into our minds is what comes out of our mouths. Colossians 3: 12-14 (AMP) exhorts us:

12Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].

 13Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

 14And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].

If we put kindness into hearts and minds, then the what we say and what we do will clothed with kindness, as we follow Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4:32:

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

If we are endeavoring to speak the truth in love, we can be assured that what we speak will be kind because “love is kind.” (I Corinthians 13:4)

And so we have endeavored to answer the five questions which form the acrostic based on the statement: “ ‘T-H-I-N-K’ before you speak.”

The essence of the message of this post is captured in this song by Fernando Ortega, “Let the Words of My Mouth”:

 

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