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Talking Nonsense

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!  Psalm 141:3 (ESV)

Apparently, the English language has ninety-eight words for talking nonsense.  What does that say about us?  Having filtered the lengthy list, here a few samples: babble, balderdash, baloney, blarney, blather, claptrap, codswallop, gibberish, hogwash, palaver, prattle, twaddle and waffle. 

Interestingly the Bible lays great emphasis on our words and our use of the tongue.  I remember my childhood visits to the doctor.  I could never understand why he always wanted to see my tongue when the reason I was there was a stomach ache.  Later in life I learned there was wisdom behind his words, “Let me see your tongue.”  It can reveal telltale signs of anaemia, dehydration, kidney problems and infections.  The colour and coating on a tongue can also be an effective way of spotting symptoms too.

“Let me see your tongue” is even more true as a test of spiritual health and wellbeing.  Our words are symptomatic of the state of our hearts.  The tongue is the courier of the thoughts of the heart.  Jesus made that clear in Matthew 12:

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.  But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”  Matthew 12:35-36 (NKJV)

The tongue is the infallible index of the heart, the gauge that accurately reads our spiritual temperature.  The word Jesus used for “idle” is argos, meaning ‘useless, purposeless, profitless’.

By contrast, our words should be edifying, as Paul told us:

Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk (ever) come out of your mouth, but only such (speech) as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grave (God’s favour) to those who hear it.  Ephesians 4:29 (AMPC)

May our words edify others and impact grace.  May today’s scripture from the Psalms be our daily prayer.