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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blabber and Chatter really matter

19 The more talk, the less truth;
   the wise measure their words.
 20 The speech of a good person is worth waiting for;
   the blabber of the wicked is worthless.
 21 The talk of a good person is rich fare for many,
   but chatterboxes die of an empty heart.
(Proverbs 10:19-21)

The Book of Proverbs is filled with all kinds of wisdom about our communication - what gets said and what should remain unsaid.  There is more set in motion by one word than most of us realize.  The three verses above give us some insight into the choices we make with our words.  

  1. The more talk, the less truth - in other words, the more we have to say, the greater chances are that we will embellish what is truth within the statement with things that may not be entirely true.  When we "add words" that really don't "belong" in the discussion, we are simply trying to "enhance" the truth.  There is simplicity in the truth - it needs no enhancements.  
  2. The wise measure their words - not because they are scared to speak what they know to be true, but because not everything we think needs to be spoken!  We may know a truth, but there is a season (a time) for each truth to be brought forth.  The "timing" of what we say is as important as the "content" of what we speak.  Learning to "measure our words" will enable several things.  First, others will see the value in what is shared because it is not "fluffed up" with other ideas that don't really lend to the conversation.  Second, others will have a chance to hear what is being said because it is direct, appropriate, and in the correct timing.
  3. The speech of a good person is worth waiting for - it is valuable because there is something of value in each word that comes from a "good heart". A good person is sometimes a "label" given to someone who does "good things" or is a "good friend".  In scripture, being a good person is more of a state of character that is reflective of the teachings and principles of Christ.  There is a manifestation of obedience to the Word of God, the leading of the Holy Spirit, and the responsiveness to your own conscience.  
  4. The blabber of the wicked is worthless - this is indiscreet communication. Just being indiscreet in the timing is bad enough, but also being indiscreet in the content of what is shared makes the communication doubly worthless!  There isn't a whole lot of thought that goes into this type of communication - it is free-flowing, without constraints, and often quite damaging, as a result.
  5. The talk of a good person is rich fare for many - in another translation, this says, "The lips of the righteous nourish many..."  Words aptly spoken, timed well, and not riddled with nonsense have a way of "nourishing" the one who hears them.  They foster growth.  They are spoken in such a way that they strengthen, build up and supply what is needed in the situation. 
  6. Chatterboxes die of an empty heart - most likely because they also die with very few friends left!  Nothing is more disappointing and dissatisfying than to be surrounded by gossips.  Gossips destroys more relationships in a few simple words than guns kill people!  Words are destructive when they are spoken to the wrong person, at the wrong time, or in a manner that is ill-intentioned.
The truth is simple, but it is often the most difficult to speak.  We struggle with the truth so much because we don't know how it will be received.  If there is one thing I have learned it is this - truth is meant to be shared.  It is what sets us free.  There is a time, a place, and an appointed means by which truth can and should be shared.  When we are faithful to consideration of the timing, appropriate selection of the place, and the leading to share what we know to be true, there is an anointing on those words that help them to be expressed and heard in a way like no other words can have impact.

Learning to be wise in our selection of what gets spoken is our first challenge. Being faithful to speak what we know to be true is next.  Not mixing truth with things that "fluff up" is a challenge to be mastered by all.  Communication is a difficult thing - maybe our most challenging growth opportunity in life!  It takes a lifetime to learn to do it well!