19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, SLOW to SPEAK, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness 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. James 1:19-21 NIV
God forgive me when my words have been too quickly spoken
...when they were not considerate of others
...when they were spoken out of frustration, ignorance or arrogance
...when they did not produce the righteousness you desire
I'm thankful for the times in my life when God provided me with just the right words to say. I'm equally thankful for the times when God prevented quick words from escaping my lips and burning down the forests of friendships around me (James 3:5).
Our words matter immensely to God and others... so much so that we should be slow to speak. Slow to speak isn't an excuse to avoid difficult conversations. It is a caution to calculate the consequences of our words before we speak them. Pauls says it this way:
29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Eph. 4:29 NLT
Is it foul? Is it abusive? Is it good? Will it help? Will it encourage?
May we slow down and answer these questions before we speak (or post, or share, or comment, etc.) We might just find that it would be better to hold that thought.