Often, in private conversation, people will tell you what they think. Yet in a public forum they take the opposite stand. Do not “hastily” (4118b) assume that they have been honest with you or that they have the courage to state their position publically.
I had a discussion on this with a principal one time. I expressed frustration that people would tell me one thing in private but in open meetings they would take the opposite stand. They would speak up even when it was not necessary. My thought was that they were afraid to be honest in from of the authority figures. She responded with, “Maybe they are afraid to tell you what they really think.” That was a good point. Just because you think someone agrees with you doesn’t mean that is really what is on their mind.
We have this expressed in many ways through the wisdom literature but probably the NT sums it up best.
(James 1:19 KJV) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:We need to be careful what we say. Make sure that we have listened to what is being said. How often have you finished speaking and realized that you did not answer the question that was asked? Don’t react in anger. Some have pointed out that we should respond, not react. Let the love of Christ control you.
So speak when necessary. You have heard people tell you to count to ten. Maybe it would help to borrow a tool of our Catholic brothers and get a rosary. They use them to focus their prayers. We could find a way to use it in a Protestant focus. The point would be to pause to allow the Holy Spirit to bring things to mind and help us think.