Think before you speak! How many times have you heard that phrase? How many times has that phrase been the counsel to yourself and others?
Often I am in situations where someone else is controlling the conversation. Words fly out of their mouths like jet planes flying in and out of Chicago's O'Hare Airport, one of the busiest in the world. As the words fly, stress and confusion increase. The mind begins to close off from all that is being said. After awhile the communication begins to deteriorate and the only thing heard is the sound of indistinguishable words. The conversation is dead.
The speaker has failed to communicate and the listener has stopped hearing. All communication is lost.
Words are powerful. They change the direction of lives, corporations and countries.
In January, our nation observed the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of John F. Kennedy as president. What powerful words he used. Who doesn't remember the words: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"?
When I think of words, I can't help but think of our Savior, Jesus, who used words in the most powerful way to make broken people whole. And who can deny the beautiful words of the Bible which are "God breathed," according to II Timothy 3:16.
Once the wrong words leave our lips, "I'm sorry" is too late. The harm has been done, relationships are fractured, feelings are hurt and walls are erected that divide.
Because I know the power of words, I am careful to be honest, truthful, sincere and compassionate when I speak. I also attempt to think before I speak. However, it is not hard, especially when God is in control of your life.
James writes on the power of the tongue: "But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison" (James 3:8).
My prayer is, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).
The world needs to hear good words. Let's begin by talking with compassion and civility to one another!