I’ve heard the admonition all of my life in one form or another: THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK!
I’ve heard it put cleverly: “God gave you two ears and one mouth so you’d listen twice as much as you speak.” I know that’s not exactly about “thinking” but I fully believe that’s the spirit of it — taking the time to consider and taking the time to listen (when listening means what it really means) are close cousins.
I’ve heard it from James (Jesus’ brother who we are pretty sure did not trust his eldest brother as Messiah while Jesus was alive, but certainly came to trust Him in time) who was pretty clear about listening and speaking and spewing words in anger. This is from James 1 (New Living Translation):
Listening and Doing
9 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.20 Human angers does not produce the righteousnesss God desires.21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
This morning Joel Hunter (Northland Church) shared a thing about this that I found helpful. I can’t remember who said it first (he gave credit to someone, but I wasn’t taking notes and Google has not been helpful).
When you THINK before you speak you ask yourself these 5 questions:
If it passes the test, then by all means, speak.
I’m wondering if this test should be applied to blogging? Probably so. And what about Facebook status updates and Twitter tweeting? Yes, I’m sure it should.