By Lysa TerKeurst

Read Proverbs 18:21

I have some opinions. I have some thoughts. I have a plethora of words that beg to be spoken.

And if I’m not careful those words can be too much.

Unchecked words that come too fast bring with them a rush of trouble. That’s why it’s important for me to consider three things with my words…

1. Listening should take precedence over speaking.

Honestly, I think a lot of relationship troubles could be solved if we made the commitment to listen more than we speak. Gosh this is hard, isn’t it? Sometimes when I’m listening to someone all I can focus on is when I’m going to be able to jump in and say what’s screaming in my brain. Later I realize all that focus on my next words prevented me from really listening to what they were trying to say.

What if I made the commitment today to do more listening than speaking? I think I’m going to try this. I’m going to challenge myself to not interrupt. Wait until there is a true pause in the conversation. Truly consider what the other person has said. And then respond with care.

“He who answers before listening – that is his folly and his shame.” Proverbs 18:13 NIV

2. Words should be measured.

I need to engage my brain before I engage my mouth. Just like I consider how a purchase will affect my bank account, I have to consider how words will affect my relationship account. I can do this by thinking about how my words will come across and intentionally asking myself if there are better words that could be used in this situation?

“A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” Proverbs 18:2 NIV

3. Once they are spoken, I can’t unspeak them. (Is that a word? If not, it should be.)

Once words come out of my mouth I can’t gather them back in. It’s like once you squeeze too much toothpaste out, you can’t get it back into the tube. Now certainly, I can quickly say I’m sorry. I can ask for forgiveness. I can attempt to make the wrong right. But I can’t unspeak my words.

“Words kill, words give life; they are either poison or fruit – you choose.” Proverbs 18:21 MSG

There is so much good advice about words throughout the book of Proverbs in the Bible. Today is the 18th of the month so I chose to study Proverbs 18 … and look at all the wisdom tucked just a few verses from that one chapter!