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Think before You Speak

“He who restrains his words has knowledge.” (Proverbs 17:27 NASB)

Today we can instantly inform the world about whatever we happen to be thinking. But the Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs wisely offers three cautions to help us see how hastily sharing our opinions can cause unnecessary conflict and division between believers.

  • Other people may misunderstand our thoughts and motives and therefore misjudge us and perhaps take inappropriate action to correct us.
  • We change our minds often, so if we always share what we currently think, we will always be retracting what we used to think, which confuses people and makes us look silly and fickle.
  • Pride makes us defend our statements, even when we later realize we were wrong. When others see our stubbornness, they try even harder to refute us. Pride on both sides causes strife over what both sides know to be an error.

Before we post, chat, or tweet a position on something, let us take time to understand the issue and options, to investigate Scripture, to consider what informed believers have to say, and then to decide whether we should share our opinion—and if so, how so. If our thoughts pop out as quickly as they pop up, we’re sure to cause confusion and division. So let’s be wise and restrain our words. Careless speech creates conflict.

From Jeremiah Burroughs, Peace and Healing, p 35.