My Broken Road to Grace: Post Twenty (Do You Talk Too Much?)
Have you ever heard the old saying "loose lips sink ships?" I have all my life and I always thought that it somehow related to wars and spies, etc. In other words, you let an important secret out and it has the potential to damage your plan severely, another old saying "forewarned is forearmed" certainly applies. Clearly, if you know what is coming and if you are smart. You are then, much better prepared to deal with it. Even still, while I think the underlying meaning of the phrase may very well have something to do with that, I don't think it is necessarily its only application.
No, I think the deeper more consequential meaning may be this. Talking and too muc in any given situation can be bad. I heard my Daddy say one time in reference to an older gentleman who attended our church and was, to say the least, on the quiet side. "No he doesn't say much but when he does talk it is worth listening to."
I come from a long line of talkers, my grandmother was one, so was my mother, then me (those of you who knew me in school know that is true and my girlfriend says that not much has changed since then.) then my children and even my grandchildren, some of them at least seem to be developing into talkers.
Despite my girlfriend's opinion, I do think I have slowed down a little over the years. When I was young I am certain that although my mouth was constantly engaged, my brain was not always following suit, a malady which led me down many an uncomfortable road. I can remember my parents both saying "you need to do a lot less talking and a little more listening." something I really didn't understand until I had teenagers of my own and often had to say "hey wait a minute, take a breath" in order to get a word in edgewise.
Talking is an essential part of life and a necessary form of communication. Can you imagine a world where it didn't exist? Sometimes I think it might be nice as I hear the cable news folks talk louder and louder trying to drown each other out but I know in reality the ability to do so makes our lives easier. I did hear someone say the other day that through advent of the text message the ability to either talk or write was slowly but surely fading. My goodness I hope not but I can see validity to the argument.
It is true we talk as a nation, there are talk shows, talk radio, people often say it is time for the "talk" but how does this apply to us as Christians? James 1:19 says: "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." Pretty good advice if you ask me, the slow to speak and slow to become angry part especially. Let's face it, we have the ability to talk ourselves into frenzy and often do. Many times, when we could avoid an unpleasant encounter all together if we just didn't say anything and waited 10 minutes or so before we did. That is not how the devil works however. He knows just what will take our blood pressure up a notch and you can bet if he has anything to do with it that is exactly what will happen and for him the quicker the better, before we have time to think it over at all.
Words in addition to necessary can also be dangerous and hurtful and once said are impossible to reel back in, they are out there and for good and will multiply themselves in direct proportion to how many people heard them to begin with, coming back over and over to bite us and remind us that we should have kept our mouth shut.
What then, as Christians should we do? We should pray for patience and restraint, we should ask God to send the Holy Spirit to reel us back end when we are about to make a mistake and we should try to follow that lead very, very closely. Certainly there will be times when the need for words, even actions to defend ourselves will be necessary but if we try, really try to follow Gods lead, I think we will come to see that those times will be less often that not.
Start today, as part of you faith, a “think before you speak campaign.” It will in all probability it will make your life easier and may just help a fellow Christian to avoid that course of action as well and there is no way that is anything but a good thing.