In a more awkward period of my life I tried relating to people by speaking at them, rather than talking to them. Or even worse, not even listening to what they were saying. Wrapped up in my insecurities I had little time, or desire, to listen to what was going on in the life of my friends. Most of them understood where I was at emotionally, but few of them knew at 16 & 17 how to articulate on how I could be a better friend by listening vs. acting out and reflecting everything back onto myself. However, it is a true friend that can be honest and share a hard truth with you, and love you still in spite of your fault.
During this time I did happen to have a friend step up to the plate and tell me that I needed to do more listening than talking. She pointed the situation out to me, instead of skirting it like so many others did and for that I'll always be grateful. They were hard words to heat to be sure, because at the time I knew no other way to communicate, however, she was right and the lesson was invaluable. Her advice to me, "think before you speak." And when I was with her she enforced it too. Her rules were very simple if what I was about to say had nothing to do with the topic that was being discussed, basically necessary, or the first word out of my mouth was the word "I", or along those lines, then I couldn't say them and had to wait until I was addressed before I said something. What?! Craziness I tell you! But her rules proved to work themselves out and by simply taking those few extra moments to evaluate what it was I was about to say made a huge difference, and I started to realize how much of what was actually coming out of my mouth was gibberish. Slowly, but surely, the more I started to listen and keep my mouth shut, the more people started to include me in the conversation again, and even a few years later, when I was in the Navy, I was complimented by a supervisor for being a good listener and to quote him "no wonder people liked talking to me."Half the conversation is the exercise of listening to what is really being said.
This memory was brought to my mind by a post from IFB KJV Blog Directory. The post was called T.H.I.N.K. I like acronyms almost as much as I like words. They are great tools for remembering concepts, and the armed forces uses them with abandon. So with the authors permission I'm re-posting their thoughts on T.H.I.N.K.ing, and how we should use our words. T.H.I.N.K.ing before we speak, and then expound upon some of my own thoughts.
Truth ~ Are your words true (Galatians 6:1; Proverbs 16:16,17)
Helpful ~ Are your words helpful (Proverbs 16:24)
Inspiring ~ Are your words inspiring (Proverbs 15:26)
Necessary ~ Are your words necessary (Proverbs 17:28; 29:20)
Kind ~ Are your words kind (1 Corinthians 10:23)
Some other verses about using words:
God has plenty to say about the power of words and how we aught to speak to one another. The Proverbs 31 woman has the law of kindness on her tongue (Proverbs 31:26). And there are many times that the Lord has recorded the fact that wisdom should be the words that we utter out of our mouths (Proverbs 31:26; Proverbs 18:4). Words, and the messages that they convey, are so important to the Lord that he chose a man by the name of Moses, who was not elloquent in his speech (Exodus 4:10), to speak on His behalf so that His words would be the focus of the message that he wanted to send to Pharaoh and the Israelites, and not Moses' own. The spirit of the Lord also moved upon the lips of other prophets so that he could continue to send messages to Israel (2 Samuel 23:2). And probably most necessary were the words that the Lord himself spoke (John 6:63). These words were many like John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the father but by me."
But with all of these words they all encompassed a T.H.I.N.K.ing process to them. They were all . . .
Truthful (Titus 1:1-3) ~ Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
Helpful (Mark 9:17-27)
Inspiring (Acts 26:6) ~ And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:
Necessary (Job 23:12) ~ Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food
Kind (Luke 23:34). ~ Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Even in His last moments the Lord thought to offer up words of kindness for those that were mocking and killing him.
So do you T.H.I.N.K. before you speak?
If the Lord can think before He speaks, because lets face it if anyone had a reason to cry out an injustice He did, so should we T.H.I.N.K. before we speak and offer up wisdom, truth, and kindness in our words.
I'm eternally grateful that I had a friend teach me about using my words more wisely. Now it's up to the Lord to finish that work, Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it(1 Thessalonians 5:24).