Can We Talk?
(June 17, 2001)
A man working in the produce department was asked by a lady if she could buy half a head of lettuce. He replied, "Half a head? Are you serious? God grows these in whole heads and that’s how we sell them!"
"You mean," she persisted, "that after all the years I’ve shopped here, you won’t sell me half-a-head of lettuce?"
"Look," he said, "If you like I’ll ask the manager."
She indicated that would be appreciated, so the young man marched to the front of the store. "You won’t believe this, but there’s a lame-braided idiot of a lady back there who wants to know if she can buy half-a-head of lettuce."
He noticed the manager gesturing, and turned around to see the lady standing behind him, obviously having followed him to the front of the store. "And this nice lady was wondering if she could buy the other half" he concluded.
Later in the day the manager cornered the young man and said, "That was the finest example of thinking on your feet I’ve ever seen! Where did you learn that?" "I grew up in Grand Rapids, and if you know anything about Grand Rapids, you know that it’s known for its great hockey teams and its ugly women."
The manager’s face flushed, and he interrupted, "My wife is from Grand Rapids!" "And which hockey team did she play for?"
Folks, loose lips can get you in heap of trouble, amen?
This morning we are going to talk about talk.
Scripture has a lot to say about our speech. You could spend a lifetime just applying what the book of Proverbs says about speech.
Our time this morning will be spent on looking at a few aspects of speech, and my purpose is to encourage you to take a fresh look, or listen, if you will, to what comes out of your mouth.
I want to do that by focusing on three types of speech, going from worst to best. And the first of these is…
I. Harmful Speech
A couple of weeks ago we talked about how Peter refused to eat unclean animals when the vision of the sheet was given to him. And we looked at how Jesus, in declaring all foods clean, said that it wasn’t what a man puts in his mouth that makes him unclean, it’s what comes out that makes him unclean.
In this first section I want to discuss three types of harmful speech, but before we get into them, I want to point out the verse printed in your outline here.
Listen to James 1:26 -
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
If you call yourself a Christian, you need to be on guard with your speech, especially these three. The first is…
I have told you previously how I feel about gossip. Don’t bother bringing it to me, because I will call you on it.
Here’s a definition of gossip: information that may or may not be true, but that is nobody’s business but the person the rumor is about.
Gossip comes in different forms – out and out rumor, inquiries about persons from people we think might have the “inside scoop” (“Do you know anything about such and such?), etc.