This week the last remnants of civility between the rival political factions in the UK parliament seemed to be lost. Parliamentary privilege means that MPs are free to say whatever they want in the house of parliament without fear of prosecution for slander. Yet the toxic language and personal attacks does not help and only serves to exacerbate the existing divisions.
It’s easy to open our mouths in anger. Our words are powerful, as a biblical writer noted, ‘The tongue has the power of life and death.’ Proverbs 18:21 One saying I was taught when I was young was, ‘Think before you speak’. Regretfully it is not one that I have always followed, but I have found that it pays dividends when applied. If we pause to think before speaking, we can ask ourselves if what we are going to say is:
T – true?
H – helpful?
I – inspiring?
N – necessary?
K – kind?
I’ve found through experience that if it does not meet these criteria it is often better left unsaid. Perhaps if we pause to t.h.i.n.k. when we are angry our words can heal wounds instead of inflicting them.
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