Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. Proverbs 17:28 (NIV)
Wait To Speak
You think that you talk too much, don’t you? Yes, I certainly do. I can’t tell you how many times I have opened my mouth and said something that I regret. Why can’t you tell me? If I really knew how often, I suppose that I could tell you. But you already know all the regrettable things that I have ever said. Yes, I do.
Why do you want to talk to me about the foolish and regrettable things that I have said? Wouldn’t it be better to forget them and just move on? Do you really think so? No, not really. Why not? I regret opening my mouth and saying what I regret. Those regrets don’t just go away. No, they don’t. They nag at me constantly. Wouldn’t it be better if we talked about them? Yes, I suppose that it would be better.
What kinds of words have you regretted saying? I have mostly regretted proud, impatient, angry or judgmental words. I know that those words can hurt others and even damage me. Yes, they can. Does it seem to you that you say out loud most of the thoughts that come into your mind? Yes, it does. Worse than that, I say words that I haven’t really even thought about. That’s not good. It is pretty foolish, isn’t it? Yes, it is.
Would you like me to help you to be wise with the words that you speak? Yes, I would. How can you help me? I want you to slow down. There is no race to see how quickly you can respond with your words. The more quickly you speak, the more foolish your words will be. But slowing down will not be enough of a guard over the words of your mouth. What will be?
We are having a conversation right now, aren’t we? Yes, we are. Is there any reason we can’t continue this conversation throughout the seconds and minutes of your life? No, there is not. Do you think that talking with me throughout your day will change the words that come out of your mouth? I’m positive that it will. When you wait to speak, what will people think? They will think I am wise. When I give you the words to say, what will people know? They will know that I am wise. Why is that? They will hear words that you have given me to say. Yes, they will. Is that what you want? Do you want to wait to speak the words that I will give you, or do you want to rush to say your own words. I want to wait to speak the words that you will give to me. Is that your prayer? Yes, it is. I will hear and answer that prayer of yours.
Lord, I have been quick to speak and slow to listen. I have foolishly rushed to offer my opinion. Help me to remain silent and consider what you want me to think about a matter before I speak. Give me your wise words to say. Amen
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