"The heart of the righteous studies how to answerbut the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil."Proverbs 15:28
I want you to do something right now. Get a pen and a piece of paper. Don't have one? Dig through your purse- find an old kleenex and some lipstick. It doesn't matter what it is, just find something to write with and on. **smile**
Now, I want us to think about the people in our lives that we influence. We're going to make three lists.
*First, write down all those, by name, who are closest to you; those you live with- your spouse, children, roomate, other family members- the people who REALLY know you.
*Second, write down those people you see, most likely, everyday- a co-worker, boss, students that you teach, maybe your child's teacher.
*Lastly, write down those people you might see only once or twice a week- the mailman, cashier at the gas station, waitress at the resturant.
Now, look back over your list. How do your thoughts, actions, and reactions affect all those you have influence on? When your child interupts you while you're on the phone, what do you do? When your husband calls, after you've had a not-so-great day with the kids, and says he'll be home late, do you smile and say, "oh honey, that's ok, take all the time you need"? How about when the waitress brings out your meal and nothing is the way you ordered it, what's your reaction?
Solomon tells us in Proverbs that the righteous man (woman, in our case) studies how he is going to answer. He stops and thinks before he speaks. The opposite of that is the wicked, self-seeking man, who responds immediately with hurtful words. Ephesians 4:29 says not to let any harsh words come out of our mouths. Why? Because those words damage. As believers, we are to speak words that encourage and build up. Our words, like those of Jesus, should be full of grace and beauty (Luke 4:22).
How can we put into practice thinking before we speak? I believe it starts in the heart and through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ that is built on and in His Word. Several years ago, I learned a very practical help in a Bible Study class I was in. It comes from the writings of the apostle Paul to the Philippian church.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things."Philippians 4:8
Use this verse to PRE-PLANT in your mind only those things that will result in attitudes, actions, and words that will be pleasing to God.
PRE-PLANT model from Conversation Peace by Mary Kassian