Don’t Say Everything You Think !

Don’t Say Everything You Think

Not long ago, I was around thousands of people in different environments, watching a multi-day volleyball tournament and visiting attractions and theme parks. I’m a people-watcher by nature, and having the opportunity to sit closely with people, wait in lines, and gather in crowds, I had lots of time to observe others.

Boiling down my observations into two categories, here’s what I most noticed:

1) Spouses saying unkind things to one another, and

2) Parents verbally belittling their children.

I’m sure these observations don’t reveal anything new or surprising, but they occurred so frequently that I couldn’t escape noticing. People can be quite nasty to one another.

Since it doesn’t take intelligence to be critical, let me suggest one relational principle that has helped me. I realize that this is easier said than done, but it is as simple as this: Don’t say everything you think!

I realize that holding your tongue takes self-control and a degree of humility, but the results are amazing! When someone triggers an emotion in you and you want to react with a verbal dagger…don’t. When someone injures your pride and you want to say something that will be a zinger comeback and put the other person in his or her place…don’t. When someone exhausts your patience and a strong reaction will make you feel better…don’t.

I have a quick wit, and a propensity for sarcasm, and with this amazing combination of skills, I create some really strong statements…that no one hears but me. Why? Because as a Christian and a parent, I’ve learned that I don’t need to say everything that I think. When I slip up and allow the statements to escape my mouth, I end up wounding others, triggering more reactions, demeaning those I love, heightening tension levels, and create negative memories.

Words are always powerful. But misguided words hurt, and they hurt deeply. Using reckless words is like stabbing another with a sword. In almost every instance, it’s best to keep the sword in its scabbard.

Try this today: Don’t say everything you think! Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you have to say it. Not all words must be spoken.(DJS)

GOING DEEPER:

1. Under what circumstances do you find it most difficult to avoid saying what you think?

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