Think Before You Speak Part 1: The Problem With Venting

Photo Credit: Dan Pearce

At some point in time we’ve all heard it. “Think before you speak.” Often coupled with that saying is the old adage  “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” By the way, I always find it fascinating when I realize how many of these popular phrases or sayings are based on Biblical principles. He may not always get the credit, but God sure knows what He’s talking about! Anyways, 😉 in my post, Anger Management, I said I’d be addressing the negative effect of harsh words.  With this being such a broad and important topic, I’ve decided to break it down into parts, with today’s focus being on venting

vent(vnt) n.

1. A means of escape or release from confinement; an outlet: give vent to one’s anger.

2. An opening permitting the escape of fumes, a liquid, a gas, or steam.

v. vent·ed, vent·ing, vents v.tr.

1. To express (one’s thoughts or feelings, for example), especially forcefully.

2. To release or discharge (steam, for example) through an opening.

About a month ago I was speaking to a trusted confidante about an impending situation.  I was preparing to spend a great deal of time with someone who had a less than favorable opinion of me, and I was asking for her prayers. I knew better than to be anxious, but I was nervous and wanted to share some background information to give my friend a better understanding of the circumstances.  I spoke of the detailed accounts in which the person in question had hurt me or made me feel uncomfortable, but it wasn’t long before I stopped dead in my tracks.  Before continuing I asked her if the conversation was being productive, or was I merely venting?  You may find this to be an odd concern, because venting isn’t so bad right?  In fact many believe it’s a healthy necessity, and much better than the alternative of keeping one’s emotions bottled up.  Not too long ago I would’ve been in full agreement with this thought process, but that changed when God directed me to His Word:

Proverbs 29:11 (NKJV)

A fool vents all his feelings,
But a wise man holds them back.

Straightforward. Simple.  And it cut me to the bone like a razor-sharp two-edged swordI am not a fool, and I certainly don’t want my Father to think so!  But why does it say this? Are we really supposed to hold it all in, never having the opportunity to tell someone how we feel? Is that what the Lord wants and expects of us?  No, of course not!  We have every liberty in Christ to converse and grow with one another, informing each other of our thoughts and emotions. However, we are to do so using wisdom.

Proverbs 14:33

Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding,
But what is in the heart of fools is made known.

You see, when we vent we are using neither wisdom nor self-control.  Based on the definition given above, we are forcefully letting off steam, which does nothing to benefit the speaker or the hearer.  Expressing yourself is healthy and encouraged, but once your words are no longer doing more than allowing you to dwell in your sorrow or continue to bad-mouth someone, it’s time to do a self-check and stop!! The best way to do this is to examine your motives.  Are you still talking because you have to get it out?  Is your purpose to ensure that the awful portrait you’ve painted of someone or some situation is ingrained in the minds of all those who would listen? Or maybe you just enjoy hearing the sound of your own voice.  Either way it goes, the focus should be on finding your Godly solution, rather than giving priority to the issue at hand.

In my earlier example I was told that I was not going overboard or venting about my problem.  Even still, I made a conscious decision to move on, because no scenario deserves more time and energy than I give my Lord and Savior!  I encourage you all to think before you speak, enjoy the answers God provides, and let go of the problems the world brings!!

Be blessed and stay tuned for Part 2: The Untamable Tongue

15 thoughts on “Think Before You Speak Part 1: The Problem With Venting

  1. Very timely. The same topic and scripture that has been working on me and my heart the past two weeks. I can’t wait for the next blog because I’m aware so now I need to bridle my tongue when the flood of words start flowing to “vent.” I’ve found it is not productive in the least.

  2. I really like this post. It relates to a common situation that everyone experiences. You’re right venting for the sake of letting out frustration can be a release and temporarily relieve the anguish one feels but then the emotions quickly return and you’re right back to square one. There is a well known quote by Ghandi that says , ” problems are simply ill fitting forces in motion, solutions to problems comes from stillness “. I used to vent a lot and still do on occasion but I’ve tried to ask myself what I want the end result to be. Sometimes the solution is simply an acceptance of factors that are beyond your control. I like to believe that God always keeps a shield of light around me……..if I let it in. It’s a conscious choice I need to make every day to not let the darkness become consuming, to know I am always able to make a better choice. Thank you so much for reminding of us of this!

    1. Absolutely true Tiff!! Whether dealing with family matters, work, relationships, whatever, we always have a choice. The problem arises when we try to take control away from God and allow our negative perception of the situation to dictate our actions. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, and let’s keep each other accountable in this area!

      Exodus 14:14
      New Living Translation (NLT)
      “The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

      Love you!

    1. Thank you Sebastian! I am only sharing what the Lord has given me, and I’m glad it resonates with you! I appreciate you following my blog, and I look forward to learning a lot from you as well! God bless!!
      Patricia

    1. I hear you Chrystal. When dealing with these types of situations I remind myself that it’s a spiritual battle I’m fighting, even against myself at times! I pray for God’s strength to respond as He would have me to, and when I fall short I thank Him for His grace and mercy!

  3. Hi Patricia, thank you for your message it gave good food for thought. The Scriptures tell us there is a time for everything but as we can see by the Scripture you shared this does not include foolish talk which is ungodly, God warns us about this ( see below ) if we use course Lanague to express our hurt and continue ranting and raving as they say, then we are indeed showing that we are foolish, a wise person meaning having God’s wisdom does not express themselves in ungodly ways although like Jesus and Paul when rebuking and correcting error they may be very firm. We remember also that if we are to help carry each others burdens and to cry with each other, then we need to be able to know that others care and will listen to us and we need to be willing to do this for others too and to offer Godly advice and accept it as well.

    Ephesians 5: 3-7 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.

    Christian Love from both of us – Anne

    1. Thank you for your input Anne! I recently read the verses you cited in conjunction with a study of 1 Thessalonians 4, specifically 3-6. Very timely indeed! As you’ve so eloquently stated we are to be cognisant of how we reflect Christ in all of our actions and words. When Godly wisdom and Holy Spirit guide us, we learn more and more of how to be that example. Not just for others but for our faith walk as well. When we engage in foolish talk excessive venting and coarse language, we are taking our focus away from the Lord and in essence giving the Enemy a foothold in our lives. Heightened awareness in this area (and many others) continue to ready us as we fight this good fight of faith!

      God Bless!

      Patricia

  4. Amen. Some people however, uses God’s word to vent their truth. They begin to force their thoughts by venting scriptures, but not necessarily studying and living them. But venting them forcefully. So I agree with you that allowing the Holy Spirit to direct us and convict us when needed. Patricia, that’s why God says to be careful who we unveil too, but when the Holy Spirit directs us to then God will protect us from the venters who are out to harm us. I say vent to Jesus and wait.

    God is able

    Shenine

    1. Excellent point Shenine. Thank you for bringing that out. Even the most important of truths can be lost when presented in a forceful way. Also, I’ve been in situations where I’m practically searching for someone to talk to, to get it all out, but no one is available. During these times I can hear God tell me to bring it all to Him. It is only before His throne that I receive the answers and comfort I’m looking for!

      1. Patricia, God places true friend (s) in our lives that we are able to unveil to. It is nice to have a friend you can open your heart to and not have it scattered like leaves but kept confidentially in the wellspring of the heart. You can share together as you both walk in God’s character of true christians.

        In the meantime God is our comforter and will guide us to the right heart. ♥ I understand you totally. I know the feeling. I look forward to getting to know your heart.

        A Woman After God’s Own Heart ♥

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