An old Swiss inscription says, speech is silver, but silence is golden. Maybe that’s because some people just talk too much. Words, words, words; emote, emote, emote; chatter, chatter, chatter. We’ve all been cornered by a talker, and if your “gift” is being a listener, and you’re honest with yourself, there are times when you’d probably like to have a sock in your pocket for appropriate stuffing.
I’m guilty of cornering God sometimes and talk, talk, talking His ear off. It’s safe to do that with Him, but what about incessant talking with people? Again, (just being honest), there are people who so drain us with their chatter that we…I don’t know…duck down another aisle in the grocery store when we spot them? Silence our phones and forget to turn them back on? Avoid certain people altogether? Have I touched a nerve yet? Sorry! C’mon…we’re human, and although we’re made in the image of God, He’s still coloring in much of the details. (Mine’s a paint-by-number hot mess sometimes!)
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences (Proverbs 18:21 NLT). Love to talk…hmmmmm… Our words can make others feel great, or they can exasperate. That’s the power of the tongue. Solomon, described as having a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have (1 Kings 3:12), said this, Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few. Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool (Ecclesiastes 5:2-3 NLT).
We are to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, according to James 1:19. That’s how the Lord is with us. He’s so quick to hear us that before we’ve even formed the words to talk, He knows the thoughts and the intentions of our heart. He’s slow to speak words that would pressure us but rather speaks to us in a still, small voice. He is slow to anger and rich in love (Psalm 145:8 NIV).
Sometimes the very wisest thing we can do in a conversation is to stop talking. A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent (Proverbs 17:27-28 NLT). Taming the tongue is not easy for a person with the gift to gab, but consider this promise next time you’re about to launch into an unnecessary oration: Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything (Proverbs 13:3 NLT). Perhaps a good prayer strategy for excessive talkers is to ask the Lord to bless them with a long life! If the wisest man who ever lived tells us, Shhhhhhhhhh!, we are wise to let our words be few, and zip it! The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking (Proverbs 15:28 NLT. Just sayin’.
© 2021, Chris Werre