Have you ever made a thoughtless comment and wished you could hit the rewind button and pull it back? Most of us have uttered words better left unspoken at least a time or two. As we read in the Book of James (3:2 NIV), “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.”
In our world of hyper-connectivity, when every social media post or broadcast word reaches around the world in an instant, the advice we read in the rest of James Chapter 3 is especially relevant. Perhaps some of the celebrities in this week’s controversies might wish to consider, “6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”
When we are tempted to post something thoughtless on social media, shock with vulgarity to get attention, or try to get a laugh at someone’s expense, we should stop and consider those familiar words, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Much unpleasantness in the world might be averted if we remember to THINK before speaking. Before speaking or tweeting consider this:
T – Is it true?
H – Is it helpful?
I – Is it inspirational?
N – Is it necessary?
K – Is it kind?
The first and last letters in this mnemonic are the most important. If your words are neither true nor kind, perhaps they are better left unsaid.
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. – Psalm 37:30 (ESV)
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. – Psalm 34:13 (ESV)