“A person takes joy in giving an answer; and a timely word, how good it is.” Proverbs 15:23 CSB
Recently I had the opportunity to travel with my husband for his work. I’ve done the trip with him many times before to Pawley’s Island, SC. We always do the same thing when we go, same route, same routine. A store he does retail systems for is there. Usually it’s just a quick in and out trip, we never stay in that area because it’s in the furthest location, typically we stay closer to Myrtle Beach because he has larger stores there he manages. This time though, we stayed near the store at Pawley’s Island.
On this quick overnight trip, we decided to do something we had never done, we decided to turn right and actually go to Pawley’s Island. In all of the years we have gone there, we have never actually gone to the island. What we discovered was an amazing little town nestled close to the ocean front. The island had a tiny church that overlooked the marsh. The town hall was a step back in time, a small building that shared its roof with the police station. The houses all close together created an intimacy that immediately made us feel part of a secret hideaway. Just miles from the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach, it was apparent the island is a refuge to those who spend time there. We discovered a little piece of heaven, all because we decided to turn right.
We can discover the same thing when we choose to turn right with our words. When we don’t say everything we’re thinking, when we stop and think before we speak, we’re turning right. For years, I was quick to speak and slow to listen. But then I discovered James 1:19 which instructs us to take a different road. James tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. I decided to turn right, I decided to put it into practice. What I discovered was less conflict in my life, less strife, less regret. I found I never regretted what I didn’t say. I found it doesn’t hurt to wait 24 hours before making a reply. I found that in turning right it helped take the emotion out of my reactions and replace it with reality and logic. I found a way to create peace in my relationships instead of conflict. My words became more timely, less reactive.
Choosing to turn right with our words isn’t always easy. It will be a lifelong choice we will have to make over and over again. But it will bring more peace and less strife. Choosing to be quick to listen and slow to speak gives you the opportunity to find joy in your answers. Choosing silence will bring a timely word when you do speak. Your words will be life giving instead of life taking. You will never regret what you don’t say when you listen more than you speak.