“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36)

“Let your speech be always with grace,” the Scripture says (Colossians 4:6), “seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man,” and “study to be quiet, and to do your own business” (1 Thessalonians 4:11).

There is such a thing as the sin of talkativeness, and many Christians are beset by it. Note some of the pertinent Scriptures: “He that hath knowledge spareth his words. . . . Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:27-28). “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).

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37).

“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks” (Ephesians 5:4).

There are many other such warnings, of course, but the one in our text is perhaps the most sobering of all. Evidently God has a sort of “tape recording” of all our conversations, and we shall be required some day to explain all those words which were not gracious and edifying. We would do well before the record of our idle and pointless conversations (not even to mention any that are hurtful or profane) mounts any higher to forsake the sin of talking too much, and to cultivate prayerfully the grace of quietness. HMM

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