Guest Column: Stop to think before speaking, acting

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, October 3, 2019

En(dur)ance by Robin Gudal

Robin (Beckman) Gudal, intentional in life, is a wife, momma, nana, friend, and a flawed and imperfect follower of Jesus.

My husband, bless his heart, bought me a rose. A plastic rose. It is not what he meant to do; he didn’t know it wasn’t real. It wasn’t until he saw me touching the rose that he asked me, “What are you doing?”

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“Oh,” I commented, surprised. “It’s plastic.”

“What? I will return it!” he said. I remarked there was no need — it’ll last a long time. I love my plastic pink rose.

My mind wandered off to other things. Often, we mean one thing, and yet something else happens.

Worse, we just don’t stop and think before we act, much like the age-old problem of “foot in mouth.”

A lady at church said to me recently, “I like your style of writing. I am enjoying reading your columns. You have a way with words.”

I thanked her for her kind words and said something to the effect that I don’t always communicate as well I would like.

“Ah,” she admittedly said, “I am often sticking my foot in my mouth.” It made my mind wander a bit more, once again. I, as her, don’t intentionally have such habits, yet it happens.

Within a few weeks, I received a devotion on the same topic. I was encouraged that we were not the only people struggling with such a character blemish. Then I remembered there was a recent book on the same topic I had purchased.

“Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say it, and When to Say Nothing at All.” Author Karen Ehman shares some valuable insight.

When we intentionally speak with grace, healing can happen. Use your words to be a balm of healing.

Don’t say something (in the heat of the moment) permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off.

Seek to make amends when others have been hurt or wronged by what you have said.

Proverbs 10:19 NASB reminds us, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”

Other such verses are Proverbs 29:20, Proverbs 18:13 and Proverbs 17:28. In other words:

Don’t speak too much.

Don’t speak too soon.

Don’t speak without first listening.

Another author, Jared C. Wilson, shares from Ephesians 4:25-32 (Look it up!) and gives us wise understanding.

“Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as it fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)

When we lie about others, give in to anger and unforgiveness, adopt a posture of stinginess, curse others, grow bitter, cultivate wrath and engage in slander, we grieve the Spirit because we’ve stopped walking in His footsteps.

God is never silent, but there are times we should be! If you, (I do) need to be developed in this area, it is my prayer we would walk in his instruction and mature. We have all slipped up once or a hundred times, but today is the day to start a new pattern.

“Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.” (Proverbs 26:20 NIV)

Lastly, Romans 14:19, NLT: “So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.”

Let us speak words of love, peace, kindness and words we can be proud of. Humbly walking with you in growth today!