The other day I made what I thought was an innocent comment on facebook, in response to another preacher’s post about something that doesn’t even matter. The point is I made a comment with no malice or hostility in mind, but it was taken the wrong way and a rift was created because of it. Of course I apologized but the gentleman that was “wronged” was still hurt, and even commented that he was insulted by my apology. Yeesh.
Has something like that ever happened to you?
It happens to all of us I suppose. We say something, not thinking anything of it, and suddenly we’re in the middle of an argument that we didn’t intend to be apart of.
In light of that let me offer (to all of us, me included) five things to think about before we even open our mouths. Before you speak, think…
1) Of whom you speak – What are you saying about someone else. Can it be taken as a slight? Should it be said? Would you mind if it was said about you?
2) To Whom you speak – Are you telling a secret to someone who is known for blabbing? Are you the blabber? Maybe we don’t need to say it at all, but maybe we just don’t need to say it to one particular person!
3) Why you speak – Is there a productive point to your words, or is it just “idle speech” that offers nothing constructive (only destructive)?
4) When you speak – Maybe it needs to be said, but not right that moment. I have to tell my kids all the time “time and place.” By that I mean, you can say that, but you shouldn’t say it right this second. Sometimes I forget this one. Actually, often I forget this one.
5) Where you speak – A joke is fine. A joke at a funeral is not. This one needs good old common sense to be properly applied, but common sense seems to be getting scarcer these days, so maybe it needs to be repeated: A joke is fine. A joke at a funeral is not. Time and PLACE. Time and place.
Words are like live-wires: Hold them the right way and you have no problem. Fumble them, even just a bit, and…kaboom.
Let’s be mindful, not only of our words, but of the circumstances around our saying them!