Think Before You Speak

A Warning

When this author was young, it was not uncommon to hear the warning “think before you speak,” due largely to the tendency of being very talkative. He remembers being confused by this warning at that age, because it seemed impossible to move one’s mouth and speak without using one’s brain. However, in time he understood what these words were a wise warning – words matter, and it is vitally important to consider one’s speech carefully before speaking.

Why We Need Control

It is likely that many quarrels that exist between men, both in the world and in the church, can be directly related to unwise speech. It is important for mature Christians to have control over their own speech.

No rash vows

Having control over speech keeps one from making rash vows or making agreements before considering the ramifications of such an agreement. A famous example of this is found in the person of Jephthah. This man foolishly made a pledge to God which came at great cost to his one and only daughter (Jdg. 11:30-40). Being mature Christians requires avoiding making commitments which cannot be met (a lie), or agreeing to untenable terms (also a lie).

No jumping to conclusions

Having control over speech keeps one from jumping to erroneous conclusions. A famous example of this is found in the apostle Peter. He was notorious for “leaping” without “looking,” even if done so with the best of intentions (cf. Mat. 16:21-28; Mark 8:31-38). How often do quarrels or disagreements arise based upon an incomplete understanding of the facts? Being mature Christians requires acting upon the whole truth, instead of reacting to a portion of it.

Reach more people

Having control over speech allows one to reach many more people for Christ. Paul describes this kind of speech as always being coupled with grace, “as though seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:5, 6). It is no accident that Paul was influential with many people of different backgrounds, largely because he allowed himself to meet them where they were in life. Being mature Christians requires knowing when to pick one’s battles, and knowing when to speak boldly.

Wise Advice

Because of each of these reasons (and more), the warning “think before you speak” is truly wise advice. Being mature Christians requires having control over one’s tongue. Because, as the author of the Proverbs eloquently states, “Death and life are the power of the tongue, and those who love it with eat its fruit” (18:21).

Tags// , , , ,
More Reading
comments powered by Disqus