The Value of Words

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I’m definitely an introvert, but over the last year or two I’ve noticed something; I can talk a lot. I’ve heard that men talk around 7,000 words a day while women speak around 20,000 words per day. Oy vey. That’s a lot of opportunities every day for both men and women to encourage, affirm, put down, hurt or wound all depending on what comes out of our mouths.

A scripture that has been really convicting for me lately has been Matthew 12:34

“For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

I heard a talk about how powerful the ability to control your tongue really is. If you can control your tongue, the speaker said, you can control your entire person. Speech is such a powerful tool to use and like any thing it can be used for a tremendous good or it can be used for evil. And using it for evil doesn’t necessarily only mean saying bad things about people or using it to be blatantly rude, but using it only to further your own good. Thinking back to my own life, how many times have I carelessly interrupted people or not listened to other people becausehave a good point to make?

If I have pure intentions and a clean heart, my speech will be pure and clean. If I’m feeling bitter or angry or self-seeking, then what I talk about and how I talk about things will also be (most likely subtly) bitter, angry, or self-seeking. Further in that same verse in Matthew it goes on to say:

“I tell you, on the day of judgement men will render account for every careless word they utter;

for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

That is a whole lot of responsibility based on my every day conversation. And what do we talk about? How much of our conversations do we have that are surface level or revolve around pointless things? Obviously, it would be impossible and too scrupulous to spend time thinking about every word we say, but we know ourselves. I know when I’ve spent a conversation well or when I’ve spent it all talking about myself, talking about an annoying person in my class, or even focusing on things negatively.

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As a terrible example, I had a great, fun conversation with some friends last night. We didn’t laugh about people that were sitting around us in the caf and we didn’t focus on ourselves. We talked about the value of always walking around with crisco on us so that if we ever get attacked, we can simply slip out of their grasp. A pretty novel idea, right?
On a kind of related side note, one friend came up to my table at the caf while I was eating and said, “this caf represents the entirety of my earthly desires. I can eat every single thing that looks good and still I am never satisfied.” Suffice it to say, my mind was blown.
It’s good to look at my friendships and see what our conversations revolve around, because if I want healthy relationships then I need to work more on guarding my tongue. I think that we can all improve our speech, because looking back, can I really stand in front of Jesus and be confident and proud of everything that I’ve said? (For me, that’s a huge no.) I think that controlling speech comes from taking a deep look into your own heart. If my heart is in the right place then uplifting speech will come naturally. But if my heart is focused on my desires, then I recognize how I use my speech for my own selfish purposes. Whatever is good, whatever is pure, whatever is true, think on these things. Because if think with purity of heart then our speech will mirror our virtue, just as it will mirror our vices.

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