As we have “spell-check” to alert us to misspelled words – or a grammar-check to alert us of grammar mistakes, this verse serves a divine speech-check — except that we never get a second chance to say the right thing first. This verse then would be our speech-filter verse. The word spoken is spoken – no highlight, delete, re-speak… what’s said is said. We might tend to say the first thing that comes to our mind — and may not stop and give attention to whether it’s wise or kind. So then, as we carry on through the day or when we have opportunity to teach or share a thought — we might test our comments by filtering them through this verse.
O, how our lives need filtering. The filter could be described as the continually abiding life. This filter might be reveling: am I abiding in Christ? Is what I am thinking and/or saying from the Lord? This filter is sort of a product of the engrafted Word — learning and continually gaining more understanding from the Bible; having our life committed and yielded to the will, the way and the leading of the Lord by the Holy Spirit.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence;
for out of it are the issues of life.”
I cannot count the number of times I’ve said things — and then said or thought: O, I shouldn’t have said that! Or, I can’t believe I said that! More and more I am seeing that the things I/we say are not from nothing — they come from somewhere. Has this thought come from a yielded heart, a content life — for encouragement or edification — or is this word or thought borne of bitterness, pride or some other selfish thing? More succinctly, is this of the Lord or of the enemy? Ouch.
Second chances we might receive to say the right thing might not come right away — if at all. We usually know –instantly– that we’ve said the wrong thing or that we spoken in haste or anger or foolishness. But sometimes we say things we honestly have no idea that the words came across as angry, critical or judgmental. I am coming to see more and more that humility and forgiveness go a long way — for retrieving a misspoken word is not like autocorrect for misspelled word.
“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt,
that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
— colossians 4.6
I’m again reminded to use a double filter when speaking: Is this comment wise? Is this comment kind? This double filter would sure prevent many misunderstandings, hurt feelings, rude or inconsiderate comments. Problem is, we often have hurt feelings over what someone’s said to us — but we tend to forget we ourselves are just as guilty of speaking without grace or speaking without charity. I am so often reminded of this as I think on past offenses or wonder why someone has said this or that hurtful thing. And I have to again filter it — and it’s a decision to do so — only this time, I must filter it through the filter of love: love bears, believes, hopes and endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13.7) I think that it’s in the remembering of this that much ground is spared in maintaining and for mending relationships and friendships.
Sweet speech, loving kindness and graciousness are always a blessing — speaking otherwise always destroys. Time and time again I am having this matter tested in my life — and continually I am learning more need for refraining, rephrasing answers, rewording comments, reworking thoughts and speech. All of the different humbling experiences have been truly for my good — and I’m thankful to have the blessing of correction and second chances. Proverbs 31.26 is a wonderful speech filter.
“Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility:
for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
— 1 peter 5.5