It was history in the making. For six whole months, a woman had not said a word. Of course, she had to do this because she had a very serious throat condition. The doctor told her she needed to rest her vocal cords until her voice came back. With a husband and six kids, this seemed close to impossible, but she found a way to make it work. When she needed the kids, she blew a whistle. If she had to say something, she would write it out on a pad of paper.

When the woman’s voice returned, someone asked her what it was like to communicate only through writing. Her answer might surprise you: “You’d be surprised how many notes I crumpled up and threw into the trash before I gave them to anyone. Seeing my words before anyone heard them had an effect that I don’t think I can ever forget.”

If we could read our words before they left our mouths, we would leave many things unsaid. Why do we so often say things we wish we hadn’t? There’s no excuse, but one reason is human nature. A lot of times we forget to think before we speak. It’s not that we’re trying to hurt someone by our words, but it just comes out that way. Maybe if we thought about how our words would influence the people who heard them, we would say fewer hurtful things. Instead of making people cringe, the sound of our voices would bring a smile.

Do you wish you could have fewer slip-ups with your tongue? Pray for God to help you think before you speak, and ask Him for grace to use words that you won’t regret later.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder