Right and Wrong WordsIs your tongue quick to criticize but slow to apologize?
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There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking (29:20).
Have you ever been having a heated conversation with someone and impulsively said something mean? As soon as the words left your mouth, you knew the kind of negative impact they would have on the person. You then realized you had thrust a “sword” that could never be retracted. Or, have you ever done something (not necessarily a sin), only to realize later that you acted hastily and your action could not be erased? The Bible described this type of behavior as rashness—acting without careful consideration of the possible consequences or risks. Although things said and done rashly are not always sinful, they generally show a lack of wisdom (Proverbs 19:2), are linked with quickness to anger (14:29), and are open invitations to being shamed (25:8). There are many biblical examples of this type of behavior and its subsequent consequences in Scripture. Jepthah acted with rashness when he made a vow to sacrifice the first person or animal he saw coming out of his house to meet him (Judges 11:31-39). Uzzah reached out and touched the ark of the covenant (2 Samuel 6:6-7). Rashness seized Moses and caused him to strike the rock (Numbers 20:10-12). It also motivated James and John to call down fire against the Samaritans (Luke 9:53-54), and it impelled Peter to cut off Malchus’s ear (Matthew 26:51-53). Here are some antidotes for rashness: acknowledge and submit to the sovereign rule of God, trust His guiding presence, and appreciate the importance of considered and well thought-through speech and actions. When we’re filled with the Holy Spirit and experience His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), our rash ways will go away. So, as the apostle James said, let’s “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (1:19).
Read Proverbs 12:18 and notice what metaphor or word picture is associated with rashness.
In what current life situations do you need to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry? What do our rash actions say about our relationship with God?
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