20 ¶ Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
Hasty words have hurt many a friend and spouse. They’ve ended jobs and caused arrests. Words mean something and what you say this morning can have a tremendous effect on the rest of the day, the week, the month, or even the rest of your life.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
James 1:19 ¶ Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
There’s not much hope for someone whose mouth runs before their brain is engaged. There is also the simpleton who simply must have the last word in any discussion or argument. When you talk to them you just know they aren’t even thinking about what you’re saying but waiting to say something that has come to their mind.
We would be wise to be slow to speak according to God’s word and to choose our words carefully. A Christian’s words should have purpose.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
We’ve had plenty of examples of celebrity preachers who, when given the national spotlight, have said ill advised things that reflected their own opinions or weaknesses rather than God’s eternal truths designed to bring people closer to Him through Christ. Sometimes, having a pulpit that gets attention from the media, they simply say stupid things. Whether it be Jerry Falwell blaming 9/11 on abortion and homosexuality rather than on the malicious intent of the perpetrators and their leaders and our failed foreign policies or Pat Robertson claiming he could leg press a ton or Jeremiah Wright cursing America from the pulpit these men apparently believed their own press too much.
Often politicians will regret a random statement that came out of their mouth at an inopportune time. Recently, a rash of political leaders have been reported as saying some of the most embarrassing, moronic, and idiotic things like abortion providers, performing a legal act, should be hung as criminals. (Not too smart for a politician too gutless to fight to end and to propose legislation to curtail or limit abortion). Another was reported as saying it’s not good to help the poor because it only encourages them to breed. Some have used gun references implying, perhaps, to the unbalanced that their opponents were worthy targets of violence and this was done by both Democrats and Republicans. These things are bad if spoken without thinking and even worse if part of a planned speech.
Men in positions of responsibility and authority should use their words more wisely. And you and I at home should also be careful about what we say and not speak too hastily. I was terribly guilty of this as a parent and said many things in anger that I can never take back. There was more hope for a fool than for me. In fact, I have been a fool most of my life. I had learned to say what I felt at the time rather than what should be said or what was helpful. I fear I hurt young minds and hearts by my rashness and hot temper.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
To everyone out there, particularly to Christians, think carefully before you respond to anyone, particularly children. They remember and are affected by rash speech and unkind words. Keep in mind that it’s easier sometimes to forget a beating than it is a verbal battering. Our rash words can bring down a child’s view of his or her own value and that can have devastating effect on their lives. Think before you speak, particularly if you’re angry. Don’t be a fool.