Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Think Before You Speak

 “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God...” (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

Words can hurt or heal; discourage or encourage; deter or motivate; or they can be irritating or soothing to a person’s very soul. Words can cut so deep that they may impact someone for the rest of their life without us even realizing it.  Perhaps they were said in jest; or perhaps in a heating moment and you really didn’t mean to say what you did, but it just came out before you could even think.  How many times has someone been sarcastic towards you, and then follow it up with, “I’m just kidding!”  Those words still hurt.  After all the person was thinking that thought, whether they were kidding or not. 

I remember an incident in my young childhood where my grandfather, who typically never got mad about anything, literally stopped dead in his tracks as we were walking downstairs together and turned around and yelled at me, “Think before you speak!”  I was totally clueless as to why and could only guess that I must have said something wrong to my grandmother, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember and he never did explain.  For all I know, he could have been made at her and just took it out on me.  I held that memory for a very long time, so much so that I still remember the details of that scene and can play it back like it happened yesterday. 

Recently, going through some leadership training at work it dawned on me how that quick conversation all those years ago, played such a large role in my life and development. I never used to be the first person to speak up, and my family members always told me I was so quiet.  While I am not so quiet any longer and have learned to speak up, I wonder how things could have been different had my grandfather thought before he spoke!  Before you cut someone down to the quick, we should always take a second to think about how our words will impact the person receiving our feedback.  Put this into practice in all areas of your life, spouse, family, children, co-workers, friends, and even strangers.  When we ‘do all things with Love’, like it says in the bible, we can’t go wrong!  

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