Too Much Talk
Saturday - October 10th
Scripture to Read Today: Proverbs 10:1-32
Too much talk leads to sin.
Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.
Proverbs 10:19 NLT
"I never regretted anything I didn't say."
That was the response of President Calvin Coolidge when asked why he spoke so little. President Coolidge's words echo the text of Proverbs 10:19, which says that too much talk leads to sin. The more we talk, the more potential we have to say something that dishonors God or hurts others. The more words we use, the higher the odds are that we will say something we'll regret later.
Unfortunately, I can think of many occasions where my words got me in trouble. More often than not, it wasn't just certain words I used, but also how I used them. Unfortunately, my words have far too often hurt the people closest to me. There have also been occasions when what I said offended someone I barely knew. The more we use words, the more likely we are to say something rooted in ingratitude, gossip, slander, backbiting, or swearing.
Throughout my life, I have admired good listeners - people like Coolidge who knew when to speak and when to hear what others were saying. Listening is a lost art in our modern world. Too many of us get stirred up about something that frustrates us or makes us angry and then fire off a hot-tempered email or social media post. We don't try to listen, understand, or clear up what upset us.
Gone are the days when you were angry, sat down with stationery, wrote a letter by hand or typewriter, addressed an envelope, licked the envelope to seal it, put a stamp on it, walked to a nearby mailbox, and finally deposited your fiery missive. That longer, more drawn-out process gave ample space for the rage to recede. Often the irate person cooled down and ripped up the note before even putting it in the envelope.
When frustrated, upset, or angry today, we simply grab our phones and launch a scathing text, email, or social media post. We take little or no time to step back and think about what we are saying and how we are saying it. Sadly, words can easily be released-- free of any wise, caring, or sensible filtering.
How about your words? What would others say about your spirit and tone when you discuss politics? Do others avoid your social media posts or comments, not because you hold a different perspective, but because you are downright mean with your words? When your spouse, children, or grandchildren upset you somehow, what kind of words do you use, and at what volume do you use them? Are you known for the harshness with which you speak or a style of communicating that you often regret later?
Heed the warning of the Book of Proverbs that "too much talk leads to sin." Many of us need to do what the last half of Proverbs 10:19 suggests and be sensible and keep our mouths shut. Coolidge was wise in knowing the danger of using too many words. Let's embrace his desire to live free of words that we will later regret!
Your words can quickly get you in trouble. Maybe you need to keep your mouth closed more. I know I do!