Step 6 – Watch Your Tongue
Have you ever said anything and wished you could have taken it back? Of course you have. We all have.
What happened as a result? How did the other person feel? What kind of impact did it have in your relationship? What kind of impact did it have on those around you? What kind of influence did it have on your productivity, or your overall ability to connect up and communicate?
The tongue is an amazing, powerful thing. And step number Six in Resolving Conflict the Right Way is to WATCH YOUR TONGUE.
I love what the Apostle Paul said: “Be quick to think, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” Do you have that order?
Quick to think.
Slow to speak.
Slow to anger.
That’s the key. A lot of times we do just the opposite. We’re quick to anger, quick to speak and slow to think! The idea of counting to five is a good process when you’re tempted to say something out of anger. If you’d just give it a moment, cool down, and respond not react you’d be much better off and so would the person with you.
Before you speak, ask these questions:
Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?
Ask yourself, is it really TRUE? A lot of times we make statements that begin with “you always” or “you never.” Don’t say those kinds of things! All a person needs to do is say “here’s one time in 1983 where I didn’t say that” and then your whole point is undercut. But more importantly you shouldn’t say it because it’s really not true. People don’t always do things.
Second, is it KIND? Is it helpful? Does it build up the person? Again, I liked what the Apostle Paul said in the book of Ephesians in the Bible: “Let him who speaks speak in order to edify (or build up) that he might give grace to the hearer”–grace is power, motivation, encouragement–“and meet the need of the moment.” Now think of that. When you speak, speak to build up, to edify, in order to meet the need of the moment. The need that’s right there. To give grace, empowerment to the hearer. If we would do that would be so much better off.
Third, is it NECESSARY. Does it need to be said? There’s a great proverb that says “even a fool will seem wise if he keeps his mouth shut” … and so will you. There’s often wisdom in just not saying anything. If it’s not necessary, don’t just fill the air.
Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Watch your tongue. Remember, the tongue is like a match, a little fire that can cause a great conflagration, a forest fire. So be careful about your tongue. It can have a dramatic impact on you and those around you.
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