“It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a person” Matthew 15:11 CSB
Jesus knew what psychologists have learned: “People spend 60% of their conversations talking about themselves, 80% when chatting on social media” (Dishman, 2015). We love to talk about ourselves, all of us. Until I was researching for this devotional, I didn’t realize how much. But it does make sense. One scroll through our social media pages will confirm we love to talk about ourselves. Researchers found the reason we talk so much, especially about ourselves, is because it helps us survive and thrive. In other words, we’re wired that way. Talking about ourselves makes us feel good. The problem is we talk too much.
When we talk too much we don’t hear what the other person is saying, simply because we’re not even giving them a chance to speak. When you study the life of Jesus, you realize He was a good listener. He didn’t spend His days talking about Himself. We find an example of this in Luke. Jesus is replying to a mother who has just called out a blessing on Him and His mom (Luke 11:27 NIV). Jesus’ reply is telling: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28 NIV). Jesus immediately deferred the attention away from Him and centered it on God. He did it with very little words. When we are spending over half of our time talking about ourselves, we aren’t listening to God. If we aren’t listening to God, how can we obey Him?
The other problem with talking too much is we don’t get anything done. We spend all day talking about it and no time doing it. James tells us we’re to do more than listen, we’re to do as well (James 1:22 NIV). If we’re doing all the talking, we’re not listening. If we’re not listening, we’re not hearing what we’re supposed to do and doing it. When we’re doing, we don’t have time to talk about it, because we’re too busy doing. Last week I had a friend stop over unexpectedly. In our conversation I learned she had hurt her back, and she had an outdoor project she wanted to get done. I had a few hours free, so I offered to help her. Instead of sitting around talking about it, we got up, went to her house and did the project. It took us less than an hour working together to accomplish it. She didn’t hurt her back anymore and we had a wonderful afternoon together doing, not talking.
If we want to grow in the Lord we need to learn to talk less, listen more and ask questions. When we do, we’ll find unexpected blessings we otherwise would have missed. We’ll hear what God wants us to hear, we’ll do what God wants us to do. But not until we stop talking.