Contemplate what is in our hearts before it ever reaches our lips.

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

Memories can be tricky and difficult things. Each of us surely has good memories, some of which reach back many years or even decades. Each of us also has bad memories—those recollections of something that was lost, something that was said, or something that was done. Often the worst of these remembrances are those in which we ourselves were the bad actors. For me, some of the most painful memories are those where I misbehaved—I said something or did something that I (still) regret, or I lost my cool and, at least for a moment, lost my bearing.

            The great wise man Solomon wrote that there is incredible value in self-control. Far more than just about anything else in life, the ability to contain our tempers and tongues is a prized possession. It is far too easy, at least in certain circumstances, to give free rein to our thoughts—to verbalize them, regardless how cutting or damaging they may be. That is the easy way out, at least temporarily. What is difficult is harnessing our thoughts and feelings. What is a challenge is learning to pause and reflect before speaking and acting. What is a sign of maturity is considering the likely outcome of a certain action BEFORE that action is taken, then acting appropriately based upon that reasoned deliberation. This is the way of the wise. This is the way of God.

            As followers of Christ, we are particularly responsible for our words and actions. There is never a good reason to be hateful, condescending, or rude toward others. Never. May each of us always carefully contemplate what is in our hearts before it ever reaches our lips


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