3 Ways Our Conversation Is Causing Us To Sin And A Biblical Response
“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Pro 10:19).
Do you love to talk?
Are you a “talker”? Do you always have something to say in every conversation? If so, this proverb invites us to take a closer look at our verbal propensities and how they welcome sin.
We live in a world where everyone has something to say, about everything, all the time. The entertainment and social nature of our culture almost beg us to have an opinion on the issues and non-issues that we are inundated with on a regular basis. However harmless it may seem to participate in a meaningless conversation, we must by the grace of God, think carefully about the conversations we engage in and also how we navigate those conversations.
The Tongue Laid Bare
Even a person with a cursory knowledge of the Bible will be familiar with the commentary the Apostle James makes on the nature of the tongue. Here’s a quick refresher of James 3:
- If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man.
- A tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.
- The tongue defiles the whole body.
- No man can tame the tongue.
- It [the tongue] is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Words Are Like Toothpaste
These descriptions should create a caution within us, that if acknowledged, should direct us to slow down on not only what we say or don’t say, but also with whom we say things and in what context we say them. Our words can do more harm than nearly all other instruments of violence known to mankind. There have been people physically beaten who have recovered quicker than those who suffer severe verbal abuse or bullying in their youth. Sometimes this latter category of people never make a full recovery and live their whole lives with a marred image as a result of something someone said to them. Remember, words are like toothpaste, once they come out they cannot be put back again…so use caution.
Now let’s look at some areas where we should exercise this caution.
Our words can do more harm than nearly all other instruments of violence known to mankind.Click to tweet
One way we are baited into banter is politics. I have not seen a topic that incites more vitriol, violence, and damaging language than the events surrounding our recent election cycle. I am not saying that we should not think or talk about these issues at all. Instead, I am suggesting that we not divorce our biblical theology and renewed mind when we do speak about these things. Speaking from raw emotion or deep racial hurt may cause us to misrepresent our Lord in our conversations. This is especially true if the person we are speaking to knows that we are a Christian. There’s nothing worse than losing yourself in a conversation only to have the other person say, “Wait a minute, I thought you were a Christian?” Political talk can tempt us to this trap. Move in these conversations with thought and caution. 1 Pet 2:17 gives us some guidance, “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king” [Emphasis Added].
Speaking from Emotions
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (Jas 1: 19-20). Few things get us into trouble more than speaking from raw negative emotion! We’ve all been there. We let our emotions get the best of us and then have to go and repent for our pride, anger, rage, hurtful comments, lies, etc… Whenever this happens, if you are the offending party, there is a palpable sense that no matter how sincere your apology is the damage has been done and things will never be exactly as they were. One of the characteristics of our God is that He is “Slow to anger” and it is wisdom to ask for God grace in helping you to pursue this.
Wisdom is pronounced upon the person who is slow to speak. However, there is another, more serious reason we should be very careful about the words we speak. Listen to Jesus give a chilling warning about our idle talk, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give an account of it in the day of judgment” (Mt 12:36) [Emphasis Added]. Beloved, there is no such thing as idle talk. Frivolous conversation in the life of the redeemed simply does not exist. This should put the fear of God into us and when that happens, we have accessed wisdom. We must then use that wisdom to refrain from idle talk.
This verse is scary. Think about some of the things you’ve said over the course of your life. Consider all the lies, crooked conversations, gossip, threats, mistruths or misleading information, hurtful things you have said during “small talk”. Beloved, there is no such thing as small talk. If Jesus is to be believed (and He is) and we will give an account for everything we say, then frivolous conversation in the life of the redeemed simply does not exist. This should put the fear of God into us and when that happens we will go to God and ask Him to forgive our sins and cleanse our mouths for His use.
A Parting Verse
Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Beloved is we seek to do this, we are wise indeed!