Think Before you Speak

A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.

—Proverbs 29:11

I have often said there are two 29:11s in the Bible that every Christian needs to remember: Jeremiah 29:11 and Proverbs 29:11. Like the verse in Proverbs, the book of James also talks about our speech. Chapter 1 of the epistle instructs us to be quick to hear and slow to speak, and chapter 3 adds that the person who can control the tongue is able to bridle (control) the whole body.

We have all heard the saying “Think before you speak.” The danger in speaking quickly and venting all our feelings is that we often say things we haven’t even thought of yet! We do so at the hurt and expense of others. Perhaps that is why God placed the tongue behind two rows of teeth: to guard it from getting out of control!

I love the acronym often used to inspire us to think before we vent all our feelings. Taken from the word think, the individual letters stand for what we must consider before we speak: (1) T, is it true? (2) H, is it helpful? (3) I, is it inspiring? (4) N, is it necessary? (5) K, is it kind?

Not everything we think in our minds needs to be said, and as the verse in Proverbs 29 warns, it is foolish to vent all we feel. We have all experienced situations in which something we thought about someone or something was proven wrong. So if we speak true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind things to one another, we will greatly diminish the odds of saying something foolish.

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