Filtered or Unfiltered?
Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything. (Proverbs 13:3)
We all manage to say things we later regret, don't we? In a moment of 'not thinking', we blurt out something that either comes across too harsh, too crass, or too weird. In that moment, we almost wish we could snatch them back right out of the air, hoping they would never reach anyone's ears. It has proven difficult for me to actually snatch back words once spoken, although I have found myself doing more than my share of 'back-pedaling' to attempt to 'get out of' whatever it is I have managed to get myself into. Careless words just hang there for a while, don't they?
How do we become for 'careful' with our words? You might not believe this, but it is by engaging our brain before we engage our mouth! We disengage our emotions, think through what needs to be said and how it should be said, then consider if it even needs to be said at all. Why would I say we need to disengage our emotions? Emotions cause us to blurt out all kinds of stuff - good at times, but mostly foolish, selfish, or just plain unkind. It isn't that we aren't to convey emotion in what we say, but we cannot let our emotions 'lead' the conversation.
I find myself asking God to 'filter' my words at times when I am emotionally 'charged' or just emotionally 'drained'. The more he filters those words, the less likely I am to say things I will later regret. What does this filter look like? It might not function like a gag in our mouth, but it may just function like a gag over our emotions. For example, heated moments need time to cool off a bit, so his 'filter' over heated emotions help us take time to 'chill' and then regroup to talk things through. It is like a little prompt to take a step back, inhale deeply, exhale slowly, and then re-engage once you have allowed those emotions to settle a bit.
Not one of us wants to be known for our careless or foolish words. We'd much rather be known for our wisdom and kindness, right? I have had coffee made with grinds in the bottom of the pot and that which has been run through a filter that contains the grinds. I much prefer the latter! Filtered words are always going to be preferable - we just have to remember to check our emotions, ask God for clarity and wisdom, and once our emotions are settled securely behind that filter of God's presence, speak. Just sayin!