So, do women talk more than men? You may have read how women use 20,000 words a day compared to the 7,000 that men utter. It stems back to a 1993 marriage guidance pamphlet and strangely used by Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist in his 2006 book, which, after being challenged promised to remove the figures in future editions. Comparing all the research that has been done over the years then the difference between who uses more words is negligible.
But here is another question: what kind of words do we use? Look what Jesus says:
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognised by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.’ (Matthew 12 v 33-37)
You may be a great talker or one of the silent type. But it is what kind of words that you use that is so very important. Maybe you are waking this morning with the after effect of what someone said to you yesterday? If so then you know how staggeringly powerful words are. Here are 3 truths about the words we use:
- Listen carefully; words can be deceptive.
A brood of vipers are the small dangerous snakes (between 10 and 30) that are birthed from the mother snake. When people heard this reference from Jesus, which John the Baptist also used, they would be thinking of the snake in their creation story (Genesis 3). From Eve to the Temptation of Christ we see the snake speaking words that are subtle, manipulative, cunning and passive-aggressive. Jesus calls them vipers because they accuse him of being a blasphemer but hide their own blasphemy. Not everything that you hear is true.
- Linger awhile: words will reveal the heart.
Deception will not continue for long. So don’t sign your life away, don’t follow the latest charismatic communicator, wait, linger longer! The heart will emerge through the words.
The cynical heart will emerge with words that rubbish the good. The arrogant heart will emerge with zero self-awareness or desire for accountability. The rebellious heart will emerge with words that are impure and full of pride. Linger and wait for the heart to emerge.
- Let them go: words will be judged
We have all known hurt from someone’s words. So has Jesus. Let’s not simply waste our time trying to feverishly defend ourselves at every turn. Let’s remain objective to the issues that are raised against us and do our utmost not to be destroyed by the words that we hear. Let them go, shake them off, knowing that every word that is spoken will be judged. We will either be acquitted for example, the early church would come to realise the importance of confessing ‘Jesus is Lord’ as a testimony of salvation. But also every Pharisee who swayed the crowd away from Jesus with their accusative words of blasphemy will be condemned for doing so. Words are indeed powerful and they will certainly be judged.