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by Dalton Key
for the week of January 13, 2018 

Oliver Wendell Holmes once wondered, “Why can’t somebody give us a list of things that everybody thinks and nobody says, and another list of things that everybody says and nobody thinks?”
We will leave an investigation concerning matters of – the first list to someone else.  The second list, however – of things that everybody says and nobody thinks – warrants our further attention.
Conversing with many of us is like talking to running water.  More and more is said about less and less until words are flowing totally devoid of any substance or meaning.  We feel we must say something about everything – even those things we know nothing about.  And all too often our tongues have been wagging for a good while before the brain is even notified.
The One who made us understands well our weaknesses in this area.  Two of the ten commandments concern the tongue.  (Exodus 20:7,16.)  Three of the seven things said to be abominations before God deal directly with misuse of speech.  (Proverbs 6:16-19.)  The inspired James warns “Among our members the tongue is a world of wrongdoing, which stains the whole body and inflames the course of nature, and is inflamed by hell.”  (James 3:6. McCord.)
And Jesus left no room for doubt concerning the seriousness of our speech:  “. . . out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, a good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things:  and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.  But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.”  (Matthew 12:34-37.)