This reminded me that before I open my mouth or type a comment, post, or tweet, I need to ask myself (and you might, too):
1. Is it true? Am I completely certain that what I am about to say is 100% true? If not, return to quiet.
2. Is it beneficial? How do I offer a redemptive solution? (a) If what I am about to say has no ability to be reconciling or redemptive with the person I am about to say it to, be silent until I can share it with the party who can either provide redemption to the situation or who needs to hear that there is a need for something to be redeemed. To tell someone that a process, system or relationship is broken who has no power to bring any change is futile. (b) When I do share it with the appropriate party, do I show them a light at the end of the tunnel, or just throw blame and shame on them like a wet blanket?
3. Is it necessary? How important is this to speak out on? What is the ramification if I stay silent? Not every hill is worth dying on and sometimes things can just be released with no harm. Some things must be dealt with. I must ask myself, “What is the short and long-term situation if I don’t say anything?”
Live by these three rules and you’ll find you are a lot quieter and more at peace. When you do speak (or type), people will listen because you’ll be perceived as a wise person. Our small group at church once said everytime they broke one of these rules we’d throw a dollar into a pot for one month. At the end of the month, we bought a housewarming gift for our Habitat for Humanity family. I believe they got a large plasma TV with the huge amount we “raised.”
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.