Think before you speak

Morning all and welcome back from the Bank holiday weekend..

On Sunday we thought about the importance of listening and heeding and this took me to my thought for today as a Christian at work.

Ecclesiastes 5 v 1-7 says:

“Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.Do not be rash with your mouth,
And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity,
And a fool”s voice is known by his many words. When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools.Pay what you have vowed— Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? (7) For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God. ”
Notice what God says about speaking:

Proverbs 10:19: “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”

Proverbs 17:27: “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”

James 1:19: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

James 3:2: “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.”

So many verses give similar counsel about speech that one cannot help but understand the importance that God places on being careful about what we allow to leave our mouths. Matthew 12:35-37 drives this point home:

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

Speaking is a major aspect of character, providing a clear window into our hearts. A quotation often mistakenly attributed to Abraham Lincoln is in reference to the passage in Ecclesiastes 5:1-7: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” What sets Solomon’s counsel apart from other verses on speaking is that the others are good advice for relationships in general. Solomon’s verses, however, are focused directly on a person’s relationship with God.

What do we talk about when we are before God? Before going any further, we should clarify the nature of being “before God.” Is Solomon’s main concern here on God’s sovereignty or on the specific place? Since the unwritten but over-arching theme throughout Ecclesiastes is that everything in life matters, his main concern here is a gentle reminder that we are always before God. So even at work, and not just at Church I need to consider what I say and how I say it – or even if I say it at all!

Have a good week.

Mark

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