Guard your speech and earn respect


When you guard your speech, you take other people's feelings into account.

As a single, you become a more mature, attractive person when you watch what you say.

Make no mistake; this is hard to do. As Christians, though, we have a duty to treat others the way we want to be treated. That's the Golden Rule (Luke 6:31), and it applies to all of our interactions with others.

I struggled with this for years. In high school, I had a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor. Put-downs and biting replies popped into my head with no effort. Over time, I saw that my desire to get a laugh could often hurt people. I didn't want to do that. In grade school and high school, I was often the victim of bullies. I was a small, skinny kid and was frequently attacked because I didn't have the strength to defend myself. Over time, however, I realized that I was bullying people myself. Instead of muscle, I used my sarcastic tongue to hurt them.

I was horrified. I was guilty of the very thing I detested. I resolved to guard my speech by putting the brakes on my tongue. It took some real effort, because I enjoyed making people laugh. It was one way I could be the center of attention. But what I was doing was a sin.

As I began to show more respect for other people's feelings, I began to feel better about myself, too. I made more friends because I tried to treat others with compassion and respect.

Proverbs 21:23 says:

He who guards his mouth and his tongue
keeps himself from calamity.

Sin is a calamity, isn't it? When you consciously guard your speech, you keep yourself from this sin.

Sometimes in a group, people will be shooting insults back and forth, one trying to top the other. It can be a kind of game, to see who can make the sharpest, most stinging comeback. This is rarely harmless fun, though. People remember hurtful words, sometimes for the rest of their life.

Speech is a gift from God. We can use it to build people up or tear them down. Which would you rather do?

As a Christian, you have an obligation to carefully guard your speech, saying encouraging words to help people and bring them closer to God. Think of teachers or relatives who encouraged you, made you feel confident and good about yourself. Don't you want to pass that kindness on to others?

Promise God, right now, that you're going to do your best to guard your speech. It's one of the most important changes you'll ever make in your life.

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