Do you sometimes think God is yelling at you? I do. I’m not sure that He’s necessarily angry. I think I’m just not listening. It usually comes up with a convergence of coincidences. Take yesterday for example.
I am sitting in line at Comeaux High waiting to pick up my grandson. I am also talking to a client on the phone. Suddenly there is a tap on my window and an irate woman angrily questions my ability to read and advises me I am blocking traffic. Knowing I can read, she advises me that the sign I am parked under advises no parking before 2:30. Of course, it’s after 2:30, but when you’re angry facts are irrelevant.
I didn’t respond. I would like to say it’s because I am a cool guy who thinks before he responds. Sadly, not always so. The truth is my client heard it all. I didn’t want to embarrass him further. I was caught by surprise and all my smart ass responses didn’t come to mind until later in the day. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
Now for the coincidences: Since then I have seen an article that suggests waiting a day before responding to things like Facebook posts. Then I was hit by an article that postured that we are creating Pharisees in our children when we communicate with them in anger instead of love. At a men’s bible study on Tuesday, my brothers were sharing about how they had “short fuses” before they came to Jesus. I guess they are now all patient responding thinkers.
I kept my mouth shut because I still have a short fuse. See what I mean? God must have a message for me. Maybe it’s in the THINK advice shown above.
THINK is a set of filters we should apply to our talk before it comes out.
True. Obviously we shouldn’t be speaking things that are not true. Perhaps less obviously we should NOT say things JUST BECAUSE they are true. Oh, admit it. We have all said, “But it’s true” usually after devastating someone with a hurtful blast. Just because it must be true before we say, it doesn’t mean we have to say it because it’s true. We need to apply other filters.
Helpful. Before saying things shouldn’t we be sure it will help. It’s one of the reasons we need to delay before speaking. Determining whether something will be helpful to a friend or in a situation requires some analysis.
Inspiring. Another way of putting this one, but it doesn’t start with “I” is to make sure what we say lifts up and doesn’t tear down. Scripture commands us to encourage one another. If what we want to say isn’t encouraging, why are we feeling the compulsion to say it?
Necessary. If we just applied this one filter we would speak a lot less. We would then become known as great listeners and even eloquent speakers. Most of what we say isn’t necessary. We love to hear ourselves talk, but that doesn’t mean every word out of our mouth is a gem. Folks aren’t writing down everything we utter. Want to be a blessing. Most of the time, just shut up. It’s better to say one true helpful, inspiring and necessary things than a thousand babbles.
Kind. This filter doesn’t affect so much whether we should speak, but how. Some of us can speak necessary truth in a helpful and inspiring way and still devastate folks because our words are like bulls in china shops. Think about someone you love to talk to. Chances are they really don’t say much and what they do say is delivered with love and gentleness. Fury, anger and meanness doesn’t positively change lives, only love does that.
Okay, God I hear you. I going to try to wait long enough to THINK before I respond. I’ve already tried to convince others to do the same. That was easy. Now the hard part: doing it myself.