We speak an average of 15,000 words per day. A single word can uplift or destroy a person. So we have a very dangerous weapon at our disposal and the Bible teaches us to use it with great wisdom.
Talking… is one of the first things we learn in childhood and one of the last things we will do in the twilight of our lives. It is with the word that we teach, that we commit and also, unfortunately, that we lie and hurt others. It is in our sinful nature to do so, but since Christ paid a heavy price for us to be free from sin, we are no longer slaves to the impulses of our tongue. “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way” (James 3:9-10 NASB).
When the Holy Spirit dwells in us, when we are constantly listening to Him, our urges to swear and to mock others disappear quite quickly. But our work does not end there. “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles” (Proverbs 21:23 NASB). Guard his tongue… Like what?
Be careful not to speak too fast. Do not rush to declare your love to someone who makes your heart beat faster (Song of Solomon 8:4). Love is not a feeling, it is a serious devotion (1 Corinthians 13). It’s not just a matter of avoiding risks, because you have to take risks to love. But don’t tell someone that you are in love with them until [you are ready to serve and sacrifice] for them. Watching over our tongue will keep us from trouble, Proverb tells us, and in the realm of relationships, it is very true!
Likewise, pay attention to the compliments you give. If you are not yet engaged, wait before complimenting the other’s body. As soon as you start talking about “her sexy little curves”, you will wake up your flesh (and hers) and it will be much harder to keep your thoughts pure. The compliments quoted in the Song of Songs are between two fiancés, therefore committed to marry. Not before.
Be careful not to judge others. Especially when you are commenting out loud, in front of people who don’t know the context. “She’s always talking and being nice to guys… she must be a…” Maybe she’s just a woman who’s been hurt so much by other women that she feels now more comfortable conversing with men. Stop reporting your baseless opinions, the Bible is absolute about this. “A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends” (Proverbs 16:28 NASB).
And even when you know the context (if it’s about your ex, for example), [be careful not to put others down.] Yes, God can touch someone’s life and that person can change. Don’t sabotage someone’s reputation by dwelling on the past. Forgive and leave it all behind.
Pay attention to all the criticism that comes out of your mouth. It’s a bomb that can easily explode in your face! (Read this other article on this topic.) And also be vigilant about the negative words you speak against yourself. You risk sabotaging your future relationship by sowing chaff in your future. (Read this other article on this topic.)
Finally, a final little practical tip, regarding the correct use of speech. When meeting with friends, and especially on your first date with an interesting person, avoid taking up all the space in a conversation. Speak, yes, but remember to make room for others too. If this is your first date, prepare questions to fuel the conversation. This will save you from having to fill in all those awkward moments of silence.