Overcoming a Speech Impediment -- By Annettee Budzban

"Now Go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." — Exodus 4:12 (NIV)

When my sister was young she had a speech impediment. She had trouble pronouncing certain letters. For example the word special would come out as "sssspecial" and terrific would come out as "theriffic." Oftentimes, she would find herself frustrated at the embarrassment this caused when she was called to read in front of her classmates. However, she found relief as she worked diligently with a speech therapist who helped her to improve her speech.

Moses was called by God to go before Pharaoh to free the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt. But he told God that he could not go because he was not a man of eloquent speech — he stuttered when he spoke. (Exodus 4:10). This weakness left him feeling insecure with the call God placed on his life. However, God allowed his brother Aaron to go with him and speak for him when needed. God would not let this weakness thwart His plans for Moses.

Most of us take our speech for granted because we do it with such proficiency. Yet, our ability to talk correctly is a basic building block for communication with others. Although speaking with clarity can help us deliver our message, God is more interested in the words we speak, rather than the eloquence in which we speak them.

The Bible gives us many guidelines regarding our speaking. As we put these guidelines into practice, we can communicate effectively with others. For instance we are told  "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." Proverbs 13:3 (NIV). This tells us balance is the key when it comes to talking. If we blurt out everything that is on our minds we may end up in disaster.

It is so easy to justify the use of harsh words when we have had a stressful day and are tired, or when another person irritates us. Then we speak from our emotions and before we know it, our speech has impeded our relationships, rather than improved them. Whatever our speech problem we need to remember, God is willing to help us speak. 

Annettee Budzban