How is it that words from the same mouth can either be poisonous or productive? I think Jim Josephson got it right when he said that the person who perfectly controls his or her mouth is capable of perfection. For if you can control your mouth you can control any other part of your body as well. He’s the same fellow that asked something like, “Can apples and brussel sprouts come from the same plant?” when writing on this same subject. The answer is clearly no. Why then, is it so easy for us to allow both blessing and blasphemy to come from the same mouth?
Here are a few helpful hints that Jim gives for weighing what we say on our journey toward perfection:
- Value Your Verbiage. Make sure what you’re thinking is worth saying as well as that it is being offered to the appropriate audience. Or, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
- Correct Timing is Critical. As time increases between someone’s action and your giving of credit or correction, the positive value or impact of your words is likely to diminish. This is not to say that an immediate response is appropriate (see #1). As Zig Ziglar says, “Praise publicly. Reprove privately.” Make sure that you give credit and praise where they are due but do not refrain from correction when it will encourage a group or individual to improve.
- Make Your Vocabulary Visual. Don’t let what you say be all that anyone can remember of you. Live it out. Nothing reinforces what you say than living it day in and day out.
With these thoughts I simply remind you that you have within your grasp the power to positively or negatively influence others everyday.