Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances (Proverbs 25:11, ESV).
We all have conversations each day. Lots of them.
I’ve heard that women speak 20,000 words a day but men only 7,000 words a day. But that’s wrong!
Northwestern University conducted a study using what they called a “sociometer” that measured social interactions and found that women speak about 16,215 words a day and men speak about 15,669 a day.
So, let’s conclude that both men and women talk too much! Wow, about 16,000 words each.
In my career as a pastor, I often clocked 32,000-word days, especially if I had staff and elders’ meetings on the same day!
Let’s consider our 16,000 words each day: are they engaging, edifying, and filled with grace? Proverbs 25:11 describes our words as “apples of gold.” Are our words gold, or are they rotten apples thrown to insult, justify, and damage?
The Bible teaches that we are to be good stewards, and certainly, God wants us to use our daily allotment of words wisely.
Some suggestions . . .
- Calm down!
Our brains are geared toward anxiety and creativity. You can’t do both at the same time. Are your conversations reactive and impulsive, or are they filled with great ideas and encouragement?
- Ask more questions.
Asking questions stimulates our contemplative personality. Drama feeds the beast of anger. Jesus constantly encountered angry Pharisees, Sadducees, and even frustrated disciples.
His solution? He asked lots of questions. A book entitled Jesus Is The Question says that Jesus asked 307 questions in the Gospels. He was asked 183 questions and only answered 3 of them.
- Look at the other person’s eyes.
No, don’t stare.
Jesus said that the eye is the lamp of the body (Matthew 6:22). Look at the eyes of the people that you talk to. You can easily see anger, confidence, weakness, and distraction.
Learn to adjust your words according to what you see in a person’s eyes. A note: if you see distraction, stop talking so much!
- End on a grace note.
Books are written toward the end. Musical compositions have a grand finale. The Bible ends with Jesus returning.
How do you end your conversations? Do you want to win or to bless? I try to consider throughout a conversation what I can say at the end that will give grace to the other person.
Yesterday, while I was cycling on a bike trail, a man was standing beside the bike path having a conversation. I heard him from quite a distance because he yelled the “F-bomb” every two sentences.
Examples of great conversationalists are difficult to find today.
One of the most influential conversations in history involved two college professors. It began in the early evening and ended at 3 a.m. (probably surpassing the 16,000-word limit).
At the end of this conversation, C.S. Lewis later wrote, “I have just passed from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ.”
A great conversation between J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis!
Let’s have great conversations this week, and don’t worry about passing the 16,000-word limit.