Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Before opening mouth, engage brain

Proverbs 29:20
Do you see a man who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Some people have an opinion about everything, and they make sure you know what it is. Even if they haven't studied the issue or taken time to consider all the options, they're quick to get their word in (I won't say "speak their mind" because that would imply they actually think about what they say). This has become more noticeable in this age of immediate feedback and instant communication, where it's so easy to comment on a FaceBook status, tweet something on Twitter, or fire off an e-mail before we've had time to even process the full meaning of what we're reacting to.

When asked what you think about something, don't feel pressured to respond right away. Some people feel that if they can't give an answer on the spot, they will be perceived as uninformed or unintelligent. But you actually look more foolish when you blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, instead of taking time to formulate an informed opinion.

Sometimes, our first thought is a great zinger or one-liner. And we want to get it out there before we forget it. But after we let it fly, we realize how biting and hurtful it was, and wish we could take it back. But the damage is done, especially online. Even if we go back and delete our comment, it may have already been seen by dozens, or even hundreds, of people. We might can erase it from FaceBook, but the damage to our reputation has already occurred.

So don't be so quick to speak. Slow down. Investigate. Evaluate. Then speak with measured words, making sure you are saying what you mean to say.

Don't react -- respond thoughtfully.

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