At a men’s event I recently attended, one of the speakers listed three questions to ask yourself before you speak. These are particularly good questions to ask when the conversation contains some tension. Because i found them helpful, thought I would share them here.
The three questions to ask yourself before speaking are:
- Is it true?
- Is it necessary?
- Is it kind?
Is it True?
Are you being accurate in what you are saying? Are you providing the facts in the matter at hand? Before you respond, make sure that you understand the situation and avoid saying anything that is not completely true.
Is it necessary?
When interacting with people, there are things that we know are true, but it is not necessary for us to say them. Is what you are going to say for the benefit of the one hearing it? If it is not going to benefit the other person, it is probably better off left unsaid. Wisdom is needed to know what should be said and when it is appropriate to say it.
Is it kind?
If what you are going to say is true, and it is necessary to say it, can you say it in a kind way? John described Jesus as being “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). We should strive to be like Jesus in this. Paul tells us to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Whatever we say should be loving and kind.
How much better would this world be if everyone thought through these questions before speaking. How much better would our families, church and places of work be if we did this consistently?
We have all said things which cause us to wish for a rewind button. My hope in sharing these questions is that by applying them consistently we might increase the time between statements that we later regret.