Loquacity

“He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.” (Proverbs 17:27)

The sin of loquacity (that is, talkativeness or chattering) is one of those “little foxes” that can “spoil the vines” of an otherwise godly lifestyle (Song of Solomon 2:15), and the Scriptures frequently caution us against it. For example, Solomon in his God-given wisdom warned as follows: “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). In fact, Solomon frequently returns to this theme. “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

The apostles in the New Testament also stress how important it is for Christians to control their tongues. Too much talk can easily lead to gossiping or criticizing or even coarseness in speech. James reminds us to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,” for he says, “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity . . . set on fire of hell” (James 1:19; 3:6).

“Study [that is, diligently strive] to be quiet,” Paul says (1 Thessalonians 4:11), and avoid “foolish talking” (Ephesians 5:4). When we do speak, our words should center on “that which is good to the use of edifying,” “always with grace, seasoned with salt” (Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself warned against this sin of talkativeness. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). Such standards may seem impossible to meet, but we should always strive to meet them, for Christ is our example, and “hereunto were ye called . . . that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). HMM

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