The heart of the wise instructs his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:23-24
No kidding — we don’t have to say the first thing that comes to mind! No one would be offended if we thought before we spoke. Only the very cynical would wonder if we were pondering the best way to twist our response into a verbal bomb that slips easily into the mind and then explodes with innuendo and insinuation. Only the fool anticipates hearing something destructive. God usually gives us time to ponder a response before we utter it. He gives us time to think about the accuracy of our words. He gives us time to weigh the necessity of our words. He gives us time to think about the effect our words will have on the hearers. In fact, he wants us to think about how good our words will be for those who hear us, because their sense of well-being, and ours, depends in part on how we say what we say. To do this well, we must not only think about what we’ll say, but also about the people involved. When we learn to see our hearers as people who bear God’s image, we’ll more likely speak with the respect, patience, honor, and concern they deserve. When we see ourselves as God’s representatives, we will speak more earnestly, graciously, and lovingly.
Lord, you have spoken the words of life; may I always speak as I would like to hear, words that are good for building up rather than tearing down. Amen.