The Chinese Christian leader Watchman Nee devoted a chapter in his book The Normal Christian Worker to watching what you say and how you say it. ‘Because of unrestrained speech, the usefulness of many Christian workers is seriously curtailed. Instead of being powerful instruments in the Lord’s service, their ministry makes little impact on account of the constant leakage of power through their careless talk.’
Paul writes, ‘Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt.’ That means when you speak, make sure it’s in good taste. And the look on your face and the tone of your voice can determine whether a person receives or resents what you’re saying. The Living Bible translates Paul’s words this way: ‘Let your conversation be gracious as well as sensible, for then you will have the right answer for everyone’. Again Paul writes, ‘Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.’ (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)
So before you speak, check your attitude and ask yourself, ‘What frame of mind am I in right now?’ And don’t stop with that question. Ask yourself also, ‘Will what I’m about to say help or hurt, clarify or confuse, make me feel better or the other person feel better?’ Acknowledging his propensity to say the wrong thing, David prayed, ‘Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips. Don’t let me drift towards evil.’ (Psalm 141:3–4 NLT)
It’s not enough to be talented in life; to succeed, you must speak wisely.