I’ve rarely regretted keeping my mouth shut, but fairly often I kick myself for saying something I shouldn’t have (and wouldn’t have if I’d stopped to think).
You might be the same way.
Your child irritates you, and you spit out something that bites.
You get in an argument with your spouse, and before you know it you’ve thrown a dart that hurts. (In marriage, we know where all of the tender spots are . . .)
Or maybe it happened at work or school or church.
Two-year-olds don’t hold a monopoly on temper tantrums, unfortunately; ours just take a slightly different form.
James is speaking to most of us when he writes:
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20).
I can’t think of a single time when the Bible says something good about big talkers, but it says quite a bit about biting your tongue.
Those of us who are parents have often advised our kids, “When you get mad, count to ten before you speak.”
Turns out, counting to ten works for grown-ups too, and that seems to be what James is telling us.
Might be good for us to focus on this pretty often.
Ask God to help you keep your mouth shut.
Ask him to help you get your anger under control before you spout off.
Truth is, anger and talking don’t go well together at all, and it’s scary to think how many relationships have been hurt because we’ve ignored James’ advice.
It’s a good rule of thumb to listen a lot more than we talk and to refuse to talk at all while we’re angry.
It’d almost certainly result in many fewer regrets.—Chuck