Did you hear the stupid thing he said this time?
How often do I say something stupid or just inaccurate? Even well-intentioned ideas can reveal where I am uninformed, unaware of a broader conversation, or just careless. (Like printing out the Apostles' Creed for our decidedly protestant congregation with the last line printed "I believe in the... holy Catholic Church..." Yes, I KNOW, capital letters mean something specific - see what I did there? For others who are uninformed, that was meant to be: "holy catholic Church..." There is a difference I'd be happy to explain.)
Or sometimes, because I’m not paying attention, I repeat something someone else just said. (How many times have I heard my wife say: ‘How come it sounds better when you say it?’)
We say stuff and post stuff just to get likes, sometimes to make people laugh or sometimes just to annoy them and get them riled up. Sometimes we say things that are simply mean and spiteful.
Our words have consequences. Listen to what Jesus told the self-righteous Pharisees (the legalistic religious folks of His day):
“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:34-37 NIV)
“…every careless word” Anyone else feel convicted by that? I’ve let go too many careless words in my life. Much. Too. Many.
the Apostle James said: "... be quick to listen, slow to speak" (James 1:19NIV)
Have you ever heard this proverb? I like the ESV version:
Proverbs 17:27-28 “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and the one who has a cool spirit is a person of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
Perhaps before you send that next text or tweet, post that next email or have your next face to face conversation, would you check yourself to see whether it's with a cool spirit and a warm heart?
And sometimes the very smartest thing we can say – is nothing.