The Wisdom of Speaking Less

This entry is part 14 of 20 in the series Wisdom

When it comes to words, less is better than more.

The more we talk, the more likely our tongue will lead us into a trap (Proverbs 10:19). Sin likes to sneak into our lives through our lips, so a quality of the wise is to speak less often. Here are five ways to do so:

  1. Avoid Flattery. Flattering speech is actually deceptive (Proverbs 26:28). Words start to lose their integrity when spoken with the intent to flatter. It is almost like a verbal bribe, and in many cases flattery can be a means of manipulation.
  2. No Boasting. This has to do with prudence and humility. When we boast, we suppose that we are in control, even of the gifts God has given us.
  3. Do Not Harp or Nag. There is wisdom in not bringing up the same thing over and over again. We need to speak simply and then let the situation be. Often, harping and nagging are results of insecurity; when we find our identity in Christ, we have no need to harp or nag.
  4. No Gossiping. The negative effect of gossip never truly goes away. Even when a damaging statement is later shown to be false, it still taints the person about whom it was made, often destroying their reputation. It goes down deep into a person’s soul and is hard to forget (Proverbs 18:8). As followers of Christ, we need to avoid gossip and love our neighbors as God has commanded us.
  5. Avoid Arguing. While there is a place for debate, very often our arguments stem from a desire to be right rather than to love. Instead of practicing active listening, we seek to impose our viewpoint over another’s.

Try carrying around a card with these five ways of speaking less written on it. When tempted to practice one of these forms of speech, pull out the card to remind yourself of how to walk in wisdom.

Watch more videos from Ken’s Sunday morning class.

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