I came across this acronym the other day: T.H.I.N.K.
T: is it True?
H: is it Helpful?
I: is it Inspiring?
N: is it Necessary?
K: is it Kind?
Apparently it was created to encourage people to think about what they say before posting on social media, with the aim of preventing internet bullying. (Though I couldn’t find the original creator of the acronym, I credit Marie Forleo for bringing it to my attention.)
But thinking about what we say is a good idea in any situation, online or otherwise.
I like this acronym because
1. Though I’d rather not admit it, sometimes, I need to be reminded to choose my words with care. And this acronym is a good reminder.
2. It encourages me to assess several factors before speaking. Even if something is true, it may not be helpful. Or maybe something would be helpful, but it’s not necessary in that moment.
Maybe I disagree with something someone said or did. But do I really need to let my opinion be known?
Maybe I think my husband should do the dishes differently. But is it really necessary to tell him to do it my way? (I should just be thankful he’s doing them!)
Maybe someone cut in front of me in the coffee line. But is that a incident worth recounting? Will it inspire, help, and uplift those around me?
Promoting a Pleasant Atmosphere
Though this acronym was designed with the digital age in mind, it reflects ancient wisdom. The apostle Paul taught this: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29 NLT).
Like a bouquet of lilacs, I want my speech to create a fragrant atmosphere wherever I am, whether at home, during work, or with friends. Our words have power, and I don’t want to taint the environment with unnecessary negativity. I’m definitely not perfect at this, but it’s something I strive toward. It is a deep desire of mine to lift others up with my words and to benefit those who listen.
So before I speak, and especially when I feel the urge to denounce, disagree, or recount, I’m working hard to THINK and determine whether this is the time, place, or person to be sharing x,y, or z with.
And to be clear, I’m not saying we should never talk about the more gritty details of our lives. Sometimes we need to say hard things. Sometimes we need to speak up about something that is true, necessary, and challenging. And sometimes, when we’re bruised or wounded by the actions of others, we need to talk to someone and get help in order to heal. Thinking it through will help us know the right timing and context for these things.
Here are two more ways the THINK acronym can be put to great use:
1. THINK about what we say to ourselves. Too often, we say things to ourselves we would never say to someone else. Being rude and critical to ourselves is just as damaging as doing it to others. So take a moment to assess your self-talk and make sure it’s actually true, helpful, and kind.
2. THINK about what we're thinking about. Why? Because Jesus said that “What you say flows from what is in your heart” (Luke 6:45 NLT). Is what we’re thinking about true? Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind? If so, it will be that much easier to ensure our speech is as lovely as the fragrance of lilacs.
I hope you find this to be a helpful way to bring more joy and vibrancy into your life!
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8 NLT
How does what you say or think about affect your envionrment? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!
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