Talking too much


                      “A good man out of the good treasure of his heartbrings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  (Mathew 12: 35-37.)


                Words originate in the heart.  The heart is a place hidden from sight, deep within every human being.  The motivation for every action and the inspiration for every word ever spoken had its beginning in the heart.  Words can be damaging or constructive; they can tear people down or build people up; they can deceive or express the truth; they can inspire fear or promote faithfulness.  Jesus was aware of the power of words and warned his followers to choose them carefully.  The disciples were commanded to guard their mouths and use words in moderation.  In referring to excessive speech, Jesus used the word ‘idle.’  ‘Idle’ speech was filled with inactive, unnecessary, or useless words (being talkative often leads to sin, in much the same way as excessive alcohol consumption leads to drunkenness, infidelity, and automotive catastrophe; similarly, overconsumption of food produces diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.  Excessive speech leads to slander, gossip, and exaggeration (lies.)  [Note:  Slander entails spreading lies about another person; in the Hebrew culture, an accused slanderer would be hauled before a judge; witnesses would establish the words of the accused and the judge would determine the sentence.  Jesus made use of this cultural practice to illustrate God’s future judgment of all mankind.  Someday, everyone will have their day in God’s divine courtroom, where every excessive word and slanderous remark will be revealed (those who have been saved by the blood of Christ will not be condemned by their words (according to God’s wisdom), but they will be confronted with every account of their idle talk.)]

                I grew up in a small town where ‘everyone’s business’ was ‘everyone’s business.’  In our isolated community there was no shortage of extremely notable gossips.  I observed that each of them shared one common trait; they talked too much.  One of my close friends was a gossip.  He (like all gossips) would briefly talk about the weather, or about himself; but within minutes, fear of silence, and the scarcity of appropriate content would lead to sin.  In order to keep his mouth going, he would move from socially acceptable, to socially reprehensible topics.  He singlehandedly spread gossip like wild fire; within the flames of that fire he wove a tapestry of perversion and socially damaging information.  His foul words revealed a heart that was filled with evil expressions and sick innuendos.  [Note: we are all guilty of gossiping from time to time; none of us is completely innocent.]

                Excessive speech leads to gossip, slander, and evil speaking.  Today, every word that comes out of our mouths is a reflection of what resides within our hearts.  A clean mouth is the expression of a clean heart.  We must choose our words carefully, knowing that our mouths can sin against God and others.  We can choose to use our mouths to build others up, or to tear others down.  Our words can serve God, or oppose Him.  May our words be clean, and may our mouths always be instruments of God’s divine love.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, give us clean hearts; make them pure and Holy, that our speech may be appropriate and proper for expressing Your love to others.  Control our tongues and bring them under the control of Your Spirit.  Make our words to be few, and protect us from the inherent evils of excessive speech.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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