Why We Should Be “Slow To Speak”

One of the apps that I get and read regularly is an Associated Press app which gives updated headlines and news. Yesterday I received several headlines regarding the Mississippi man arrested for having sent the deadly poison ricin through the mail to Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, President Obama, and a Mississippi judge.

The first update said that Paul Kevin Curtis had been released from jail. Not long after, the charges against him were dropped in a brief document filed in federal court in Oxford, Mississippi. Attorneys for Curtis suggest he was framed. An FBI agent testified that no evidence of ricin was found in searches of his home.

An FBI agent said in court Monday that searches did not turn up any evidence for ricin in Curtis’ vehicle or house. Nor did his computer show any searches on his computer for making ricin.

Curtis stated: “I respect President Obama. I love my country and would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official.”

There was one lighthearted incident in a deadly serious event. Curtis referred to his questioning by interrogators: “I thought they said rice, and I said ‘I don’t even eat rice.'”

The point of this post is not about law enforcement. They have an extremely difficult job.

I want to deal with what this kind of event says to us. Among many other lessons, it should remind us to be careful when we speak. No wonder Jesus told us not to judge others (Matthew 7:1-3). Most of the time our judging involves jumping to conclusions or dealing with wrong information.

James told us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19).” Frankly, I find myself much too quick to speak and much too slow to listen.

In a sense we all owe an apology to Mr. Curtis. His good name has been besmirched and his family humiliated. It’s easy to destroy a reputation and almost impossible to restore a good name.

None of us would want to be treated in this way. Let’s make sure we don’t treat others in this way either.

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  1. Ed Matthew
    Apr 24, 2013

    Well put. Thank you. All the more reason the rules when having ought against one of the brethren should be followed. Of course it takes Romans 12:5 realized and in action to have brethren to make this prescription possible.

    Unfortunately, a ‘court of law’ ends up making a poor substitute for ‘brethren’ and the spirit; and the intent of God’s Direction given by Christ Jesus is lost. I have yet to meet a trial lawyer who will agree that court is more about Truth than about winning. Objectivity and Light are left at the door as smooth stones prattle. It is a truism: everyone looses. Except of course the author of confusion and every evil work.

    We may not show Whose we are; it seems we end up looking to “Egypt” for aid, for protection at quite a price and loss to the “Brethren.” The treasure is then plundered. Why? There are no Brethren to offer their gifts, talents, time. What is allowed to fall/fail in a small scale will fall/fail on a large scale. It is easier to look away. “The poor you have with you always,” context, context, context.

    “Faithful in little, faithful in much” has more applications than money. More than tangibles are in the Balance regarding, Whose we are. A good name? “There is no Good apart from God.”


  2. Kathy
    Apr 25, 2013

    We must all remember:
    Matthew 18: 15-20

    And practice it…….
    Damaging someone’s reputation by gossip or erroneous information is hurtful and unbecoming to our family.

  3. Ed Matthew
    Apr 26, 2013


    It takes a Body for Matthew 18:15-20 to Work, a “like-minded” Body seeking Truth and Redemption in Christ.

    Thank you!

  4. fullmoon
    May 05, 2013

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something
    that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Verse of the Day

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. — Romans 15:5-6 (NIV)