Are our words reckless?
TODAY’S PROVERB: When words abound, transgression is unavoidable. but whoever restrains his lips is wise. Proverbs 10:19
Proverbs cautions many times against speaking too much. There are plenty of passages in both the Old and New Covenants that advise against the misuse of our tongues.
We might think that only chatterboxes speak too much, but eloquent speakers can be just as guilty. It doesn’t matter whether brilliant or insecure, we can all get ourselves into trouble by using too many words.
The problem with words is that too many of them say the wrong things. –quote by Torley Wong
Using too many words can lead us into places we don’t want to be. One place is the world of Reckless Speech.
Reckless is defined as a lack of proper caution; careless of consequences; irresponsible.
It’s way too easy for Reckless Speech to happen. I have several wonderful friends whom I love and I know they love me, but they can’t stop talking. They throw out senseless superlatives that have hurt me, and I know it was not intentional. And, I have done equally hurtful things by allowing critical words to slip past my lips that I don’t intend.
One of the most vivid passages of the harm from reckless speech is Proverbs 12:18: Reckless speech is like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
When we give no thought to the consequences of what we say we are reckless. The words may not even be hurtful, but they carry no weight or importance. They aren’t part of a dialog — except with the one we have with ourselves, out loud.
We may have experienced this type of speech when someone is trying to “sell us” on something. Whether it’s a product or idea or opinion, a lot of words can cloud the truth and confuse us. Some folks do this intentionally to manipulate.
Sometimes we don’t realize we’re talking too much. We think we have to give every single detail we know, when we don’t realize the person we’re talking to already knows it — we don’t know this because we’re only concerned with our end of the conversation.
How do we know we’re talking too much? Watch for signs like:
- People avoid engaging us in conversation. Or avoid us altogether.
- We don’t know what the other person is thinking and we’re not that concerned about it.
- Lack of eye contact from the other person. They look at their phones, their shoes, over our shoulder.
- We don’t allow others to finish a thought or sentence.
- We have difficulty telling someone something in just a sentence or two. We feel we have to go into great detail. My husband calls it, building a watch when someone asks for the time.
- We enjoy the sound of our voice.
We can make a positive difference in someone’s life with very few words. When God gives us things to share with others, we don’t need to embellish it with our own words. Think about this: When God lit the universe, it was with a simple, “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3) Simple. Restrained. Perfect.
Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word aptly spoken. Proverbs 25:11
Exercising restraint is a muscle worth developing, don’t you think?
May we be wise and restrain our lips, my friends.