Talk Matters

Don’t be fooled – talk matters.

These days, people spout off about all kinds of stuff. Whether it’s an opinion on politics or the latest story from Oprah, we can’t keep quiet about all the juicy details. Somebody told me that the average person uses over twenty thousand words a day. Obviously I haven’t used all of mine today. We are a talkative people; yet I wonder whether we consider the implications of our words? While we often argue for our freedom of expression, Scripture actually warns us to be careful with our tongues.

Talk Exposes:

Yeah, we enjoy speaking our mind, but the ancient world understood the purpose of speech quite differently. For them, “speaking” was a unique reflection of one’s position within in the tribe. It was not only a reflection of a person’s character, but of status and honor. They believed that honorable people would speak honorably. Now that would be a neat trick for our politicians, don’t you think.

Solomon’s Thoughts:

  • “Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning” (Prov 10:13)
  • “Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his lips” (Eccl 10:12).
  • “Wicked men… whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways” (Prov 2:12-14).

Jesus said:

  • “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks…men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mt 12:34-37)

Drawing from the same tradition as Solomon, Jesus reiterates that the tongue directly reflects the heart. Essentially He’s telling us that people are the sum of their words. The manner and content of their speech mirrors the essence of their life.

Perhaps the wisdom of James should be considered at this point…”Therefore my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak.”  (Jms 1:19). I know its something I have to remind myself often. My dad used to tell me, “Son, a fool is never discovered, until he opens his mouth.”

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