“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” (Jam. 1:26). What a warning James issues for his readers and us. If you know me, you know that I talk a lot, so scriptures that speak to that really affect me. I have had people in the past approach me to say that the Bible clearly says we “talkers” should bridle our tongues. At least one person told me they “fear” for my salvation because of my tendency to “converse too freely.” I have also been approached by fellow concerned “talkers” who feel at risk because of that tendency. Now, it is a fact that people who talk a lot carry their thoughts in their words, so we have to be careful to express what we are processing before it is complete in our minds.
Obviously, this can cause problems because the wrong message may be relayed before the proper one is formulated. Therefore, the tendency to misspeak, albeit unintentionally, is real. There is also a tendency among the wordiness to babble on and on, not making sense because they want to be heard all the time. The Bible warns about that kind of speech in verses like Pro. 1:8, “The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.”, and Eccl. 5:2-3, “Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven, and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business and a fool’s voice with many words.” Every person should be careful not to be compelled to give utterances to every thought that pops into the head instead of carefully choosing the appropriate words. Moreover, if you are garrulous (chatty, especially about trivial matters), you need to pay special attention to listening instead of interrupting and talking all the time.
James 1:19 speaks to that with these words, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear…”. Take the time to hear what the other person has to say before inserting volumes of hastily spewed-out words in order to be heard. Ok, so the Bible is clear that we should be careful to choose our words carefully, but I want to warn those who are quick to reprimand talkers of the dangers of judging too quickly as well. Do you insult every overweight person you see? Do you throw snide remarks at them, warn them of their “dangerous” state and look down on them as if they are the epitome of unhealthily living and you are the picture of perfect health? Do you actively call them to their faces and warn them of the dangers of dying of obesity if they do not change their life choices? Do you call them out behind their backs as you snicker at their “complete lack of self-control and discipline?”
I sincerely hope you do not. You do not know them and have no idea what has caused their weight gain. Genetics and body type, metabolism, disease, psychological trauma, emotional trauma, social trauma, PTSD, and yes, life choices are some of the things that influence someone’s weight, but who are you to judge them anyway. Maybe take the time to get to know them and understand them before being so quick to disparage them. And if you speak behind their backs and the backs of talkative people, you may want to read verses like Pro. 16:28. Should you then refrain from helping someone who is chatty from being a babbler? Absolutely not, but first understand the distinction between wordy and garrulous and get to know them. So, if you have a reputation for verbosity, make sure that what comes out is well thought out and used for constructive encouragement instead of babbling words.