Do you have more regrets about the things that you said (and wished you had not) or things you didn’t say (but now wished you had)? Most of us speak more than we might realize and, if you are of the fairer gender, you speak nearly three times as many daily words as your male counterparts. Studies reveal that women employ and average of twenty-thousand words in a twenty-four hour period while men average seven-thousand. If you are reading this with your wife, gentlemen, and think it’s funny that she speaks nearly three times as much as you, you should choose not to say a word at this point, saving your seven-thousand for something that won’t result in you getting elbowed in the ribs.
In this political season and during an upcoming election year, much attention is paid to what people are saying. Attack ads and stump speeches allow for some fairly heated rhetoric to be shot forth like flaming arrows. I must confess that I enjoy some unrestrained political potshots, as long as the substance of the dialogue is grounded in truth. Even more enjoyable is when the candidates themselves, or the general public, raise an alarm about the lack of diplomacy and gentleness in the verbal exchanges. Forgetting that election-season politics are rooted in debate, contests, clashing ideologies, verbal dismantling of opposing ideas…for some reason our culture wants everyone to be sweet to each other. I’d rather see the candidates take off the gloves and go at it. At least, that way, we know who is bringing what into the ring. Frankly, I’m sick of the call to sweetness. America is suffering from ideological osteoporosis and it’s high time we got reacquainted with our spines. Ours is a season wherein there needs to emerge some warriors who have sized up the enemy, chosen appropriate weaponry and committed to the cause.
Here is some of what I am learning: I need to be a man who communicates what is on his mind. I need to be a man who, when communicating what is on his mind, is intentionally aware of how he is saying it. I also need to be a man who does not get so hamstrung about how to say what is on his mind that he never ends up saying anything. My conclusion? I need to really ponder upon and then choose wisely how I use my seven-thousand words each day. I desire to build people up because I love the art of encouragement & exhortation. Yet, for those of you who share this desire with me, there also needs to be the awareness that “the build-up” has to take place on a foundation of truth. One of the greatest issues with politics and religion today is that people are engaged in a “build-up-at-any-cost” mentality. If your friend’s head is on fire, you do not smile and say, “My, don’t you look radiant today!” Your desire to build him up resulted in him getting burned up! The mindless commitment to syrupy living has taken a lot of reasonability out of our national fabric, and this country of endless opinions needs to get reacquainted with speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Sometimes the most helpful words enter into your life via a sharp point. Sometimes the saving medicine of wise counsel cannot get inside you except through the stinging pinprick from the syringe of truth. Don’t dismiss ideas, doctrine, guidance or opinion just because it’s uncomfortable. Once the momentary sting subsides, see if what has been injected lends itself to your overall health and allows you to think with greater clarity. We agree that the truth sometimes hurts, but do we not seem to prefer to be on the giving side more so than the receiving?
I’m going to watch what I say more closely. But I’m still going to talk…and write…and preach. As a matter of fact, I’m going to say more until some other folks start speaking up. Sick of hearing from me? Well, start allocating some of your daily words for something that truly matters and I’ll curtail my verbosity. I’m a Christian, and too many of us have stopped speaking and have become masters at the polite nod with close-lipped smile. Our churches and country are lacking some informed, grounded, bold and committed individuals who know what they believe and still think it is worthy of being shared with others. Say something today. Use your seven-thousand words, fellas. Ladies, you are going to say thirteen-thousand more words than men today – make ’em count! Jesus put it this way, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45.
Do you have a heart? Of course you do…and it’s married to your mouth. Reconcile the two and let that marriage made in heaven work some good today.
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