Before You Speak; Think.
Before you criticize another person; Think. Is it True, Kind, Helpful, Inspiring or Necessary? Is it coming from a place of Love and Compassion?
I want to focus on the two; is it Kind or Necessary? There’s one thing about criticizing other people, because the other person doesn’t know or understand that they’ve been doing something wrong, but if the person understands it, is it really necessary to beat up another person about something they know was wrong? Or something they didn’t do on purpose? I think most of us has at one point been nagging criticizing and making unnecessary comments to other people, whether it’s in our relationships, friendships or with our family members. But I think we will have a better society if we learn to hold our tongue, and think before we speak.
Me and other people were arriving a few minutes late to an activity here the other day, and when I arrived to the place a lady in the group spoke out loudly in front of everyone so that everybody would hear it. With a slightly haughty and prideful attitude she said: “people need to learn how to show up on time, people need to grow up!”
It wasn’t what she said; it’s how she said it; because what she said was true, arriving on time is the right and mature thing to do. I strongly dislike arriving late and try to avoid it as much as possible, and I believe that is also true for the other people who were in the group. I couldn’t help but wonder if she’s ever arrived late to a thing in her whole life, deliberately or not. Or if she ever considered the reason some of the people were arriving late? Most of the people there had children, some of them had stressed from work to pick up their children from school and rushed to get there as quick as they could. I believe that most of the people who arrived slightly late didn’t do it on purpose or because they wanted to.
What was interesting not long after that I sat down and started reading a book that said: “They reveal an embarrassing lack of etiquette. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Southern child who has reached the age of accountability without being removed from the room and disciplined for making insensitive comments to the host.”
Even children in some places, know that making insensitive comments to other people is rude and unnecessary. Was it really necessary of that woman to make that comment? As most of the grown-ups there knew they were late and most likely didn’t do it on purpose. Yes there is a time to correct people’s behavior, but there’s also a time to think before you speak. I want you to learn to discern between necessary and constructive criticism and learn to not give unnecessary criticism.
Being a grown up is not only about arriving on time; it’s also about how you treat other people. When you’ve reached a level of maturity, you will have more compassion and understanding for other people. When you’ve reached a higher level of maturity you will have more humility, and less pride and less pointing fingers at others. The truth is that many of us need to learn to grow up in different areas of our lives. We are all a work in progress and we should all learn to have more patience, compassion and understanding for others. Let us give each other the mercy and grace we also need to receive. Love does not openly and publicly put down, mock, ridicule, embarrass or slander other people. Love does not disgrace, dishonor, bully or humiliate others.
Think before you speak, because as Proverbs 18:21 says: "Life and death is in the tongue." You can build or tear down things and people with your words. Choose your words carefully so you don’t block your own blessings with your mouth.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:11-13: When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Colossians 3:12-17: Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive any complaint you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which is the bond of perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, for to this you were called as members of one body. And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.