“When there is an abundance of words, transgression is never far away. But the wise restrain their lips.”
Lately I have felt convicted in my life to speak less. Not to be aloof or distant, but just more intentional and limited with my words.
The main reason is that I want what I say to be actually helpful. The more we speak sometimes, the more we can like the sound of our own voices. Often something that was intended to be beneficial and uplifting, becomes verbose, lacks poignancy or is just ineffective.
Restraining speech defies instinct for many. Passionate people like me tend to have a reaction to everything they hear, and generally want to respond. But I know that wanting to say something doesn’t mean that it should be said. Additionally, a recipient’s ability to listen in that moment, is an equally important consideration as what I may want to say. Maybe they aren’t ready to hear it, and we should never speak just to scratch an itch.
So whenever I am DYING to say something or address a topic with a friend, I have started asking myself these three questions before continuing:
- Does this need to be said?
- Does this need to be said by me?
- Does this need to be said right now?
This helps me weed out things that are neither necessary nor urgent. And unless the topic can get past those three sentinel questions, I try to guard my tongue.
In saying less, I’m certain we would avoid so much conflict and confrontation. I’m admittedly new to the game here, but what I hope will result are less reactionary conversations and a whole lot more humility and wisdom on all sides. I’ll leave you with this killer quote:
“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening, when you’d have preferred to talk.” -Doug Larson