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T.H.I.N.K Before You Speak!

“keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.” Psalm 34:13

“My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long.” Psalm 35:28

T.H.I.N.K. Before You Speak

There’s a series of questions that I’m trying to incorporate personally, and trying to teach my kiddos… It involves our speech.

When I was a child, I was taught to tell the truth.  That’s it; that was the total barometer for what should be coming out of my mouth.  Somehow, deep inside, I knew there had to be more.

I watched a relative of mine crush a spouse’s enthusiastic beginning artistic efforts with “truth”; I was at the receiving end of another relative’s cutting remarks when, as a teenager, I began to learn how to apply makeup.  I even know adults today who think it’s totally OK to say anything…just ’cause it’s true!

The whole time I thought “There has to be more to this “truth” thing.”

Fast forward many years, and marriage and a few children later…

I was blessed to count as some of my friends some very wise women over the years.  Without the benefit of nearby and wiser relatives, I sought these ladies out as my husband and I navigated the waters of young parenthood.

And it was from them that I learned…

There IS more than “just” telling the truth!

And I would encourage you to teach your children, and perhaps remember yourself, to ask these questions before engaging in conversation; most especially heated ones and/or those requiring delicacy of any type.  Before we start to speak…we should THINK!  Ask yourself “Is what I am about to say…

T – True?

OK, I’ll give you this one.  Of course, as Christians, we’re taught and encouraged, even commanded, to speak the truth.  This is the most basic lesson, but perhaps also the lowest bar. Is what I am about to say truthful?

H – Helpful?

Are you being overly critical?  Or pointing out the obvious, just to show “you know” what’s going on or what the problem is?  You know, people are often smarter than you give them credit for, and unless you are willing to offer a concrete suggestion or step in, roll up your sleeves, and suggest a practical solution…then you might want to just button it up, so to speak.  Is what I am about to say sincerely helpful?

I – Inspiring?

Now I understand we can’t all wax eloquently or rally the troops to action with a lofty speech or whathaveyou… But people know when they’re being encouraged, even if we stumble over our own words.  And sometimes the most inspiring thing we can say takes no words at all!  We can speak volumes through a hug or a hand squeeze…  Is what I’m communicating truly inspiring or, at the very least, encouraging?

N – Necessary?

This one may be a bit tricky, because even if it’s something we think someone needs to hear, now may not be the time.  Or we may not be the ones who have earned the right to say it. Basically the benchmark for this question is: if the comment involves something the other person has no control over…it’s probably not necessary for me to say.  Will my comment offer insight or an important piece of information to the other person?

K – Kind?

Almost everyone is fighting a battle of some sort.  Most of the time, we might never be aware of what it is, nor should we. But the fact remains, people may not remember what you say or do, but they will remember kindness.  So if you or I must speak, let it be to express something kind, something that will ease or possibly release a burden, something that will be a balm to a hurting soul.  And yes, it’s that significant; that substantial  Kindness leaves a lasting impression. Am I speaking kindly into someone’s life?

I realize asking these questions is asking alot!

I also realize that sometimes we don’t know what to say, and we’ll mess up on a few of them…

I further realize that when we ask ourselves these questions, we may end up saying a lot LESS! (Which may not be a bad thing…)

But the point is to think first, to engage our brains and our hearts before we let our tongues loose.

Giving this kind of thought to our words will revolutionize our homes and families, our schools, our churches, and our work places. 

It’s easy to learn, and I promise you it will become easier with practice: THINK before you speak.

If you’d like a handy dandy reminder, feel free to print out and frame this cute graphic, below!

THINK Before You Speak Acrostic


Original photo by: photostock/www.freedigitalphotos.net

Shared with: Essential Thing Devotions, The Art of Homemaking, The Modest Mom, Cornerstone Confessions, A Little R & R, What You Wish Wednesday, A Life in Balance, God’s Girl, and Faith Along the Way

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Pat is a Yankee city-girl who has been adopted by the sleepy, sunny south. Married for 30 years and the mother of 5, she woke up one day recently to discover she reached the stage of life where she is the “older woman” described in Titus 2:3-5. A coffee lover, the purchase of a coffee shop a few years ago was her personal foray into the small, family-owned business arena.Today, PatAndCandy.com is her outlet for packaging up and sharing the nuggets of wisdom God and life experiences have taught her.
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6 Responses to T.H.I.N.K Before You Speak!

  1. Sarah Ann August 21, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

    I LOVE this and will keep this in mind! There is so much more than honesty, including tone of voice. Thanks for the words of wisdom and for sharing at the Saturday Soiree Blog Party!

    • Pat August 22, 2014 at 4:34 am #

      It was our pleasure 😉
      Even tho I wrote it, I printed out the PDF and hung it on the wall as a reminder to ALL of us at home. Things like this don’t seem to come naturally – especially when we’re raised to “tell the truth”…which, of course, is only PART of it!

  2. normaleverydaylife August 16, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Great post! Sometimes it’s hard to teach kids these lessons. Sometimes I want them to spare someone’s feelings or not say everything they’re thinking, and then they pull the just being honest card. This may help them to see there’s more to it than that! Thanks for sharing! #saturdaysoiree

    • Pat August 16, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

      Yeah, that “just being honest” card doesn’t always cut, does it?!

  3. Brandi Clevinger August 7, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    I was told to think before I speak when I was younger, but of course I learned the hard way before I heeded those words. Now I know why God gave us two ears and one mouth!

    • Pat August 7, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

      Sadly Brandi, I was taught the same thing, but most of us learn the hard way…myself included :-/
      Thankfully, God has infinite patience…

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