So, that's what I needed!
Ever eat your words? I have and they don't taste too good sometimes! A meal of my words sometimes consists of a plateful of complaining, a side dish of fretful words, and a handful of impractical advice. We all have those moments when our words don't actually match up to our intentions, don't we? They just kind of tumble out without our even noticing they did - all because we weren't paying attention. Did you realize that was one factor in communication? Paying attention is probably the biggest factor in communicating our thoughts in such a way that they not only make sense, but so they are spoken in kindness, with a degree of intellect, and in a manner than actually helps build the relationship instead of tearing it down! A person eats well when he speaks wisely - but if we forget to engage our minds in the process of speaking, we will likely only dine on some pretty nasty stuff.
Wise speech isn't haphazard - it is intentional. We take time to get the right stuff into our lives up front, ensuring what comes out stands a better chance of being tempered by that 'right stuff'. For example, listening to the Word of God on occasion is not only uplifting to your soul, but it fills your mind with a framework upon which you can 'build out' wise actions, including wise speech. I like to listen to it on one of my apps: BibleGateway.com. While I like to read the word in print, listening it to it being read to me adds a different 'spin' to my 'intake' of the Word. It isn't that I don't have time to read it myself, but I 'supplement' my reading with an occasional 15-30 minutes of listening to the Psalms or some other passages that help to 'fill my tank', so to speak. There is more than one way to learn - listening is a good way.
Wise speech is more than just nice words - it involves words that are passed through various 'filters' to ensure they are the best words we can bring forward. There are lots of filters we pass things through in our bodies in a physical sense. For example, your kidneys help to filter your blood of impurities that you excrete in urine. Your intestines filter foodstuffs so that nutrients are removed and waste is eliminated. Your liver removes all manner of toxins from your blood, keeping you healthy and strong. Filters are a good thing, but if we never take care of them, they don't work very well. I have an air conditioning filter in my ceiling in the hallway. I change it regularly near the first of the month. Why? It helps to keep the air flowing without overworking the unit on the roof, but it also helps to keep dust out of my house. Filters help us to keep things 'pure' and 'good'.
We can put a lot of spin on our words, so learning how to avoid the 'spin' and get down to the words that actually help us grow stronger together is important. My dad was one of the best salesmen I have ever met. He honestly could sell ice to Eskimos! He had a way of spinning the words so you felt you needed what he was selling. In truth, dad didn't do anyone wrong. He had a way of listening to your needs and then helping you develop the best course of action. If he was selling used cars, he listened to what your needed - something to haul the kiddos, or a small vehicle that conserved gas. If he was selling mobile homes, he learned about what you liked to do - if you enjoyed cooking and baking, he helped you get the most out of the kitchen space so you could enjoy that hobby. The thing that made dad good at what he did was his power of listening. Wise speech begins with listening, then it brings forward what is needed. Just sayin!