This phrase gives me this mental image of a mother speaking to her young or adolescent child, finger pointed, voice stern. Maybe as the result of an ill-timed joke, a naughty word, an elevated tone or talking back.
We are adults now. We are entitled to say what we think, believe or know. Or are we?
We live in a society that is quick to speak. Social media is not the entirety of what I am talking about, but it definitely has made it easier! We respond without thinking through what the result of our words may have on the individual or the others involved in the situation, even if not directly. Then, we use excuses to our entitlement.
“Well, I am adult.”
“I have a right to my own opinion.”
“Sorry, I don’t have a filter.”
How about this one- “I am just speaking truth.”
Ouch! (Cringing in my chair here.)
I am so guilty of this. If you are close to me at all, it won’t take you long to realize that I am about the truth. I am honest. I don’t believe in sugar-coating things. I don’t do fake. I wont sit on the fence or play both sides. To me, it is black or white. No games. I want truth. Authenticity. Genuine people and conversations.
Those may not be bad things but how you represent them may be.
God has been telling me lately (literally over and over again lol) to be more cautious with my words, even if I am speaking truth. Maybe I get it now.
17“He who speaks truth tells what is right, But a false witness, deceit. 18 There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:17-18
I had read these words before, but, in my mind, had somehow separated the two.
I am all about the truth telling! (Verse 17)
I am all about having a wise tongue that brings healing! (Verse 18)
They are not separate, even though they are different verses. They are together for a reason.
If we are going to speak truth but do so rashly, no profit will come of it. Maybe you don’t have the right words, the timing is off, our hearts and attitudes aren’t loving or perhaps it isn’t our job to share that truth in that situation. If we make a decision to speak truth into another life and sharing that truth does not build up and edify in love, then it is just hurtful emotionally and damaging to the relationship, like thrusts of a sword.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
Together, we can build eachother up and give grace in our words! I am praying that you and I will use discernment to know when to speak truth, to use wisdom in the words we say and compassion in how we say it.
Words and the tongue hold the power of life and death.
Be slow to speak, or maybe, you should just hold your tongue.