If we all used this mnemonic device as our filter there would be significantly less word wounds and animosity in the world. If we ask ourselves these very simple questions before we speak, we could radically decrease the amount of "suck" in the world....
God knew how difficult it would be for us to watch what we say based on the amount of times this subject is addressed in The Bible. But it's also clear that how we speak to one another is very important because it is mentioned so much throughout God's Word. Here are just a few of the verses that mentions speech...
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. -Ephesians 4:29
Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles. -Proverbs 21:23
There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health. -Proverbs 12:18
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. -Proverbs 15:1
Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking righteousness. -Psalm 52:2-3
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit -Proverbs 15:4
When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. -Proverbs 10:19
Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. -Matthew 15:11
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house. -1 Peter 2:1-5
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. -Matthew 12:35-36
Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip strife ceases. -Proverbs 26:20
Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. -Psalms 141:3
We should strive to not just be heard, but to be heralds of truth, love and kindness. It doesn't take much thought or talent to harm and destroy with our words. It does however, take wisdom and strength to be effective and instrumental when it comes to speaking. Controlling our tongue is a daily challenge we all face...myself included. But to quote The Beatles..."in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make." I believe this to be true. In my experience, the more you give, the more you get.
The times where I've lost my cool and said damaging things I lost more than just my cool...I forfeited relationships and respect. But in the times where I've spoken the truth in love - not always instantly, but eventually - I gained respect and harmony. I think if we're honest with ourselves we all want harmony. And peace begins with the individual. We have the choice to seek harmony or to harbor hostility. Each conversation, each interaction challenges us to make our choice. Choose wisely. Speak cautiously.
It's also vital to be reminded that we WILL inevitably slip up...none of us are perfect...therefor seeking forgiveness and extending forgiveness are integral parts of life. Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts the Lord has given us. With it comes understanding. It's a virtue of the brave.