5 Ways to Filter What You Say

filter wlrds

I’ve often shared about the power of the tongue and how it can be used for good or evil. I recently thought about some filters our words should have to pass through before they come out of our mouths. If they don’t make it through all of these 5 filters, then they probably should never be spoken.

1. Do I have good motives?

Is my reason for saying it beneficial to the listener or only for selfish purposes? I have to be careful on this one. There have been many times in my life that I’ve said something that is very true, but I only said it so someone will be impressed with me or because I was trying to manipulate them to do something for me.

2. Does it build up?

Words are not neutral. They either tear down or build up. They are either hurtful or helpful. [Tweet This] It makes me sad that I’ve let my hurtful words toward my wife and children pass through this filter all too often.

3. Is it confidential?

Growing up, my dad stressed to me the importance of confidentiality. If someone tells me something in confidence, my job is to make sure I don’t ever mention it to another person.

4. If the person I am speaking about was present, would they be pleased with my words?

You’ve heard this one before, but it’s always worth remembering. We should always honor other people whether they are with us or not.

5. Is it true?

Truth trumps all. If it’s not true, don’t say it.

Many of us have struggled with one or more of these filters. And, of course, none of us regularly pass our words through all of them. But, these filters will hopefully guard our tongues against speaking evil and, instead, give us the freedom to speak good into people’s lives.

Which of these filters is toughest for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share with me below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • TuPie

    Hi my word on 2. it build me up when I try to explain something and the word don’t work either for him or me. I am slow and hard to coperhiem how I say it. My husband been with me to long to try and act like he don’t know me what I am talking about. He runs around the bush and make matter worst then what my words are. He know what I am talking about it build me up when he always tear me down and it build up and hurt me when the things he say like drop it leave it alone if I don’t get it just cut me sort. He not helpful about trying to explain and how I feel of the matter how he feel or what he think. My children know I am hurt all the time how my husband talk to me with no respect he feel he respect me. For example he wanted me to help him look for some mail and most the mail in the kitchen he was cooking the same time. There where also mail that was not open. I was opening them after the fact that we couldn’t found what we was looking then we was done. I decided to look at the mail that was mine not open. He said leave it alone and that it don’t need to look for it and I said I know I just opening my mail. He applied and said leave it alone and I said I want to see what my mail said didn’t you hear leave it alone and I said what for can I look at my mail? I ask why are you doing this and he said you want to fight and argue and I said no what is the matter with you and he said just get out of the kitchen don’t want you in here don’t you hear me then I was hurt my feeling for him to act like that to me no respect. I try to talk with my word and it hurt so bad how he talk to me and I just can not have it any more I start talking ugle and nasty with bad word just flying every where and I really don’t mean it just hurt! He said I don’t speak right with my word I try to let him know my feeling and it can’t work. He nice for a min. and then he controlling and telling me how to do something we been together over 32 year and been marry 22 year. what going on here the last 5 year he really been not his self just telling me who to look at who to talk to who can or can’t come over it you invited them or what who I am eating with at work all kinds of stuff I can go on and on! My children don’t know how to act with me it seam it my fault because what every there dad saying to them he even having them to watch me why don’t know what got in to him. I love him so much and I am tired of the feeling with him. Is there any answer to this. We never fight or agure with each other until that last 5 year we move in to a house bigger. Please can you answer this Thank you!

  • Sandra

    These are great reminders, thanks! If I were listing them in order of importance (in case I were interrupted in my thoughts…) I’d list them this way: #3, #4, #5, #1, #2! MY biggest motivator in changing bad habits is “Am I hurting someone by this?” If they hurt the LORD or another person’s heart, it affects me much more deeply.

  • mommy&wife

    I think you should seriously seek counseling. There is no excuse for him treating you this way. I am afraid he will not agree to the counseling, but all you can do is try. Good luck to you.

  • The Drake

    What happens if the person you are talking with thinks that everything they believe is true?

  • Madeleine Fisher

    I wish I had learned these guidlines when I was a young adult–It would have saved me a lot of foot in the mouth dis -ease!

  • Madeleine Fisher

    I would add one more guideline–even if it is true–does it do any good to say it ( alot of gossip is true but it does not do any good to share it)

  • Madeleine, good point on the gossip thing!

  • Well, first, if it not true, perhaps you could gently challenge them on it by asking a series of deeper questions. Second, even if something is true, that doesn’t automatically mean that it should be spoken. Thanks for your question.

  • Sandra, good thought on ordering them. I didn’t think of that.

  • JS

    6. Is it the right time and place. Can others (including children) hear words or see expressions that should be reserved for another time.

    Recent bunny trails:
    a. What was that contentious woman really like if it was better to live out in the desert or up on the roof rather than to live in a nice house with her? Was she like that in public or just at home where “nobody” would hear?

    b. If I do not act according to my talk, I am a hypocrite.
    If I do not act according to my feelings, I am wise.
    I am not a hypocrite because I feel angry, but do not show it.

  • Vivian

    Perhaps one should consider the audience with regards to what they will do with the information you have shared. Will they misconstrue the information or use it against you? Will they twist what you say?

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  • Sue

    I find it difficult to make my point clear and feel angry about it when people don’t understand.

  • Paul Fredericks

    I think it would be motives. Sometimes, motives are the hardest to gauge. But, I think I can guess your response. If the other four can be answered in the affirmative, then one’s motives are probably good.