What I say may very well cost me and others a great deal.
“Talk is cheap” is an idiom that expresses ones doubt over a particular course of action. Husband to wife: “One day I’m going to buy you a brand new dish washer.” Three years later when he makes that statement, the wife responds, “Talk is cheap.” Boss to employee: “Hopefully, this will be the year I’ll be able to give you a promotion and raise.” Two years later when he coughs up the remark, the employee mutters under his breath, “Talk is cheap.” For years now, I’ve been telling my wife that I’ll actually buy her a diamond you can see without using a magnifying glass. So far, my talk has been cheap—though not intentionally. When actions don’t follow repeated promises, the talk becomes cheap. Only when the promise is fulfilled do the words spoken carry value.
But there’s another kind of talk that really isn’t cheap. It can cost me and others dearly. Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. (James 4:11 NLT)
According to Jesus, the two greatest commands were first to love God with all my being and second to love others as myself. What I say reflects how well I’m performing at both. Where it concerns others, I have a choice. I can let my speech spread negative poisons or positive prose. The poisons include gossip, unjust criticism, demeaning remarks, and negative innuendos. The positive prose embraces kindness, encouragement, patience, gentleness, and any other God-honoring speech.
Both negative and positive communication is highly contagious and can spread through relationships, companies, churches, and families with burning intensity. But for talk not to be cheap—and for me to fulfill Jesus’ command, it must be positive and uplifting. Is your talk cheap?
Prayer: God in heaven, form our words so that when they flow from our mouths they will honor You and encourage others.
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