Before we allow words to "proceed out of our mouth" we need to take time to measure them.
Aspects of speech we should carefully measure:
- Is what I'm about to say "good for necessary edification?" (vs 29)
- Will my words "bring grace to the hearers?" (vs 29)
- Is what I am about to say kind and tender? (vs 32)
- Is there ANY bitterness, wrath, or anger behind my words? (vs 31)
- Am I speaking "evil" of someone? (vs 31)
- What are my intentions behind these words? (vs 31)
If the answer to 1-3 is "Yes" and the answer to 4-6 is "No" then your words "measure-up" and it's probably okay to let them flow off your tongue. However, if this is not the case, you should refrain from speaking. "Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit." (Psalm 34:13)
An easy way to remember how to measure your words:
T - is it true?
H - is it helpful?
I - is it inspiring?
N - is it necessary?
K - is it kind?
Consider these verses as you measure your words:
- Psalm 37:30 - "The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice."
- Psalm 139:4 - "For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether."
- Proverbs 10:20 - "The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; The heart of the wicked is worth little."
- Proverbs 10:31 - "The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, But the perverse tongue will be cut out."
- Proverbs 15:2 - "The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness."
- Proverbs 21:23 - "Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles."
- Proverbs 28:23 - "He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward Than he who flatters with the tongue."
- James 1:19, 20 - "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God."
- James 1:26 - "If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless."
- James 3:4-6 - "Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell."