How many of us have answered someone too quickly and later regretted what we said? Ron shows us that the Bible teaches we need to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.”
Ron Hughes is the president of FBH International and has decades of experience in Christian mass communications. Recently Ron has overseen the launching of HopeStreamRadio, a Christian internet radio ministry. One of Ron’s passions is writing and he shares this passion with others on his program, “Author Interview.“
Slow To Speak
As I look back over 60 years of being verbal, there is no doubt that I have gotten into far more trouble by jumping in with a comment I shouldn’t have made, than those occasions in which I should have spoken and did not. For some of us, the urge to respond to any situation verbally is overwhelming. Sadly, I hurt a lot of people before I finally got the message that my funny comments and quick retorts were not a blessing to anyone.
The Bible makes it clear that the speech of Christians should set them apart. Our speech should be seasoned with the salt of grace (Colossians 4:6). It should be always the truth and spoken in love (Ephesians 4:15). It should be appropriate to the occasion need (Ephesians 4:29 ESV). Yet perhaps the hardest of all is James’ admonition about being “slow to speak” (James 1:19).
A Thoughtful Response
A thoughtful response is more beneficial that a quick one because we can reflect on both what we should say and how we should say it. When we thoughtfully consider those to whom we are speaking, we are more likely to offer something which they will be able to receive. A word spoken with gentleness and earnestness is often more likely to be received then a word offered flippantly and carelessly. If people don’t sense that we care they are unlikely to take our advice, or even our comfort, very seriously.
Our comments should also be thoughtful in the sense of being thought through. Often the first idea that comes to my mind, and all too often pops out of my mouth, is one which has not considered the potential ramifications of the advice I’m giving. I haven’t considered how my comments might be taken by the person to whom I’m directing them, or to others who are standing by listening.
Verbal Barbs Hurt
In one season of my life, some of my friends shared my enjoyment of the sharp retort, so we constantly let loose verbal barbs in what we saw as “good-natured fun.” That stopped one day when a friend, who didn’t see our banter this way, asked me if I realized that other people thought we really disliked each other and were a rather nasty lot. To realize that people we were trying to minister to saw us this way brought me up exceedingly short. Since then, I have tried to monitor myself—to hear my words before they come out of my mouth. Little by little I’m gaining more expertise at doing this. It’s a difficult exercise to master, but it can be done, and I commend it to all of God’s children.
Our words have tremendous power. Today I’m resolving, once again, to not waste their potential to bless.
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Images Courtesy of:
Sad Boy – Stacy Braswell
Woman’s Mouth – Rebecca Carlson