There is a saying that is used to help people see that they need to think before they do something. That phrase is, "Look before you leap." After reading this proverb I think there should be a second phrase developed and used to help us keep from sticking our foot in our mouth - saying things that hurt others and damage our testimony. That phrase is, "Think before you speak!"
There is great wisdom in taking a moment to think about what you are going to say. It may slow you down in communicating, but in the end it will keep you from saying things that you will regret later. Proverbs 10:19 tells us, "When there are many words, trangression is unavoidable, but a wise man restrains his words." It won't hurt us to take a moment to think about what we are about to say - it will actually bless us - and keep us from sin. It might be helpful on a test to write down the first answer that comes to our mind - but it is usually not helpful to speak the first thing that comes into our heads. I know many times in my life that doing that would have seriously damaged relationships.
The wise thing to say is the thing we have contemplated or thought about. When we are hasty in our words we will be careless in them as well. That can lead to hurtful words being spoken. It is wise for us to remember that we are fallen, sinful men and women. It is also wise for us to remember that we can speak out of our flesh or out of God's Spirit. Let me quote Galatians 5 to give you an idea of what will come from each of these two sources.
The flesh will yield these things. "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." There is a list we want to avoid at all costs. These are the things that damage and possibly even nd relationships. Our mouths do not need to speak from the flesh. Here is why we do not want to be hasty in our words. Stop and consider the source - and if it resembles these kinds of words - don't say anything. This is even more important when we are angry or we feel hurt or misunderstood. Better to take our time communicating before we speak in these circumstances. It may even be wise to ask clarifying questions like, "What did you mean when you said this?" Often we receive slight where slight was not meant to be commuicated to us. Thinking before we speak will allow us to step back and clarify what we heard before we decide to respond to it.
Speaking out of the Spirit involves yielding ourselves to the Holy Spirit. It means stopping and listening to the counsel of the Spirit as He guides us through every situation we face. Here is what we can expect to come out of our mouths when we do this. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Two benefits from stopping and listening to the Holy Spirit will be first, the much better words that will come from us - words of love and the other wonderful characteristics that are mentiioned here. But a second benefit will also be the way our "passions and desires" will be crucified as we do not yield to the flesh, but walk in the Spirit.
I am what is called a "verbal processor," which means I do better when I can talk through things. That comes with some pretty dangerous territory, because if I do this with someone I can say some pretty stupid things before I reason through my feelings and my attitudes. That is why God has greatly encouraged me to verbally process with Him - and not so much with everyone else. David verbally processed with God often in the Psalms. It is why some of them seem to say pretty rough things at first - but end in praising God and David submitting himself to God. The Lord can handle this where humans cannot. So, if you need to talk - talk to God - about your difficult things - about everything. But be careful to "think before you speak" with men. Solomon tells us that if we don't do this - there is more hope for a fool than for us. That is a pretty tough thing to face - but then again - I've faced some pretty difficult things because I was too foolish to "think before I speak."