February 13, 2023

Impressive Chatter?

Proverbs 10:19-21

Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.

—  Proverbs 10:19

Today it seems as if the more words you say, the more power­ful or popular you can be. Whether you’re on social media, in the daily news, in politics, or in a board meeting, the more you say (and the louder you say it), the more influence you seem to have.

But what does God think of all our chatter?

Scripture warns us that we need to be careful with our words and how we use them. In Matthew 6:7, Jesus encourages his followers to refrain from using many words in their prayers, as if that would make them more impressive to God. He says, “When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”

How often do we think we will be heard—by God or by ­others—when we use many words to try to impress them? Do we try to prove ourselves by speaking quickly, dominating the conversation, and coming out on top?

Proverbs 10:19 says that people who are prudent refrain from using too many words. They speak with discretion, wisdom, and discernment. They know that listening is more important than speaking. (See also James 1:19.)

Jesus was thoughtful and discerning, and that should be our aim as well.

Faithful God, thank you for loving us despite all our faults and failures. Forgive us if we think you’ll be impressed by our prayers, and help us to be prudent with our words. Amen.

About the author — Jenna Fabiano

Jenna Fabiano is an ordained minister and pastor at Willoughby Church in Langley, British Columbia. She and her family live in nearby Coquitlam, B.C.

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