Think Twice, Speak Once
“Think twice. Speak once.”
I’m not sure where this thought came from, but when I was pretty certain someone was about to say something they would regret, it’s what I said.
They stopped their conversation, looked at me in confusion, and asked me to explain what I meant. I did, and the distraction worked. Words that would have hurt, words that would have lead to trouble, words that did not need to be spoken were contained inside someone’s private thoughts.
A couple weeks ago I was sitting in a meeting and the conversation took a turn for the worse. An individual brought someone up by name…UH OH!
“Should you say this out loud? Is it uplifting? You know! Think twice, speak once!”
Did I mention I was speaking to my elder? To a spiritual elder at that?
The tongue may be small, but it is powerful. Left unchecked it can cause a forest fire.
Sometimes we think we are simply making a statement, but in all truth we are gossiping, slandering, speaking ill of someone, or really hurting someone’s feelings by saying something they interpret as negative. Sometimes we just let our tongue run away with itself and find ourselves saying things we can never take back.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
I’ve always hated that saying. Even as a child.
See, sticks and stones leave visible scars that the world can see. Words leave scars, too. However, we can’t visibly see the scars so sometimes they’re harder for the world to accept and acknowledge.
I try not to roll my eyes or giggle when I hear people push the “use your words” phrase as a way for others to express themselves without resorting to “violence”. Some of the worst violence I’ve witnessed has been delivered via verbal abuse.
Words are violent. Every bit as violent as physical force.
We have a choice. We can use our words for good or bad.
They overflow out of our heart.
The words I say out loud are in direct relation to my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and everyone who hears my words can make that judgment accordingly.
By my words I will either by justified or condemned.
Yes, this scripture is in reference to my final judgment, but in honesty isn’t my walk being judged every single day by every single person who hears me speak?
I need to be careful and weigh my words.
Think twice. Speak once.
How do I know people listen to things we say and are affected by them? Last month I shared a story of someone affected by something my son said. You can read that story here: Love Lessons From a Teenager. Today I was pulled aside in confidence and told by another adult that they had heard that story from the same adult who told my husband. They were amazed by what my son did, or should I say said.
Folks, there were a lot of words spoken in that conversation that day. Some of the words spoken made an impact for good. Some of the words spoken made an impact that tore down an individual.
We don’t need to great things every day. We need to do small things intentionally every day that will make a difference.
This week I’m going to focus on my speech. Am I building others up or tearing them down? Do I think twice before I speak or do I just fly off the handle?
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