As I sit listening to my friend/family member pour their heart out, I am tempted. My fleshly thoughts rile up as I burn at the sound of injustice in their life and I want to spout out words of solidarity, that add fuel to the fire.
My thoughts try to overthrow the peaceful voice in my heart that says, “Let your words be few and listen to me.”
You know it’s the spirit of the living G-d when you go from passionately filled anger to a peaceful resolve, that I could never think of on my own.
I have seen a lot of heartache in my short time here on earth. Nothing has gotten me into more trouble than my mouth. Sometimes we use them to comfort, while others it becomes our weapon of choice.
The more I study the Bible or listen to speakers, it is spoken time and time again to be careful with your words. James 3:4-5 (NLT) says:
” And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.”
Sure, we all love it when someone wants to come to us for our advice, but the truth is, we are mere mortals who make mistakes too. What works for me, may not work for another. What may have been my saving grace, may be another’s poison.
I love to communicate. Sometimes I realize I have been talking nonstop for ten or fifteen minutes (or let’s be honest, maybe longer..) to realize that I have not only made my point, but probably created a crater.
The very words I meant to help bring relief, may accidentally bring disaster.
Prayer and scripture really should be our first line of offense and defense. G-d tends to show up in unique ways for us all. Many are answered by prayer with patience.
However, I too fall for the temptation of an instantaneous answer. I have searched for help from others hoping to get an answer that will make my problem go away.
I do believe G-d, at times sends us to search for someone that can help us. We can find wisdom from those who have experienced the very crisis that we find ourselves in or a trained counselor.
Some of the wisest people I have ever met were great listeners and slow responders. They are humble enough to admit when they don’t have the answers. They speak with great care. They speak truth with love, and often get straight to the point.
Most people aren’t coming for advice, but rather just to be heard. Sometimes there is no fixing that can be done by the power of our suggestion.
I am learning with each conversation that G-d allows me to be a part of, is the reminder to let my words be few (still learning..). Let the Lord lead the conversation and just because you have a thought in your head doesn’t mean G-d put it there. We have to very careful to be slow to speak.
I think this world has become a place of over-communicating. Be it our politicians, media, or just plain everyday interactions, everyone wants to spout out their opinions. After all, it’s only words, right?
How many people are ending their relationships because of those words? How many have been permanently scarred by the words of others? Or worse, end their life because of them…
What if we all just listened more, and spoke less?
Some of the wisest people I have met, tend to be the ones that speak only when necessary.
Here’s what I have learned from studying and my own personal experiences:
- Pray for wisdom.
- Listen to what they have to say without trying to solve their issues.
- When speaking, let your words be few. If it is G-d led, it will be straight to the point.
- Don’t focus on trying to fix the person or their problems.
- Be a friend and be honest. Don’t give advice that you know nothing about. Tell them if you haven’t had a similar situation and be honest if you don’t know the true answer.
- Pray together. When we don’t have the answers (which is a good chunk of the time), we know that we send up our petitions to the one who knows it all.
- Be a safe place. Be honorable and don’t share information unless it is a true emergency.
When someone approaches me now to share their heart, I know what they share is sacred and that they trust me. We need to be careful not to let our feelings lead the conversation.
As James 1:19 (ESV) says,
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to be angry.”
As much as I want to help, I have learned casually handing out advice can be damaging if it isn’t the right time. We must never think of ourselves as wise. We must ask ourselves, is the scripture based? Prayer led? Or just my own opinion?
Proverbs 17:28 (NLT) says:
“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”
Our words have power.
Let our words speak life.
Let our words be few…