Thursday, March 07, 2013

when words are many


"When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
    but the prudent are restrained in speech."
                                                    Proverbs 10:19

When words are many. Hm. I'd say that about sums us up.

We're constantly using words.
Cell phones.
Text messages.
Email.
Facebook.
Twitter.
Skype.
Blogs.
Guessing what's the word.
Diaries.
Letters.
Greeting cards.
Thank yous.
Words, words, words.

And we're constantly hearing and reading words.
TV.
Netflix.
YouTube.
Newspapers.
News feeds.
Text messages.
Email.
Twitter.
Blogs.
Books.
Magazines.
Words, words, words. The words are many, and constant.

"When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
    but the prudent are restrained in speech."

But where's the transgression in that? Let's consider some scenarios.

You're talking to your wife, and you're constantly rephrasing, taking back of things, and explaining (words, words, words), trying to self-justify and put yourself in a better light.

You can't seem to drop the topic--neither can he--because if you can just get in the last word, your point  will be made, you can come out on top. It just ping-pongs back and forth, the original point forgotten, while we grasp for that sense of triumph. Words, words, words.

You spoke for so long, said so much, that when she tells you how much your sarcasm hurt her, you can't even remember any sarcasm. It's lost in the flood of words--too many to recall, much less control.

The words on the little screen in your hand are more interesting than the words coming out of your companion's mouth, so you pay attention to the screen.

You didn't have anything nice to say, but you still said something at all.

Your words are so right, and his (whoever he is) are so wrong, that you'll let the anonymous comment section shield you from any shame while you say things to him that break Jesus's heart.

Your words are so important, why not cut your [friend, husband, wife, child] off while they're talking? 

You're so used to talking about God and the Christian life, and having people listen to you talk about God and the Christian life, that you start to fancy yourself an expert.

"When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
    but the prudent are restrained in speech."

Is anyone restrained in speech anymore? Is that even possible on the internet, or with a smart phone?

How can we even start on this path to prudence? How do we learn to restrain our speech?
Maybe this is the place to start: "Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few." (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

Lord, teach us to use fewer words. Amen.

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