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Learning to Talk

March 24th, 2010

“The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Matthew 12:34 Today’s English Version

“The heart does not hide its true self very well or very long.”

My thoughts today are about “learning to talk.”

I guess it is around 10 months old that a child first begins learning to talk – at least in single words that are comprehensible. Long before a small child is adept at actual speech they have learned to use their voice to convey their wants or needs, first using single words, then joining words meaningfully, and finally stringing together a few words as a short sentence. You would think that having started so long ago, and having practiced the art of speech so much, we adults would be better at communication than we often are. Wherein lies the problem?

Of late, I noticed sharpness in the sound of my voice. Reflecting on that, I began to observe that sharpness was merely the sound of impatience that was not so much about the other person or circumstance as it was about myself. There were explanations I could offer, but none of those would make it right. It was not my speech I needed to adjust; it was my heart. God is making me more aware of that, and the obvious truth of today’s verse is helping me considerably. See Colossians 4:6 NIV.

What are your words communicating about your heart? Just as attitudes govern actions, the heart directs speech. Jesus understands the heart of man much more than you understand your own. The Bible says, “. . man looks not upon the outward appearance, but the Lord looks upon the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV. See Psalm 19:14 NKJV.

Jesus, the Master Communicator, explained it this way, “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Matthew 12:34 TEV. Listen to a person very long and you will soon hear what is in their heart – their passions or their pretensions. My dearest of friends, Campbell, frequently said, “If you want to know what you are full of, watch what spills out when you are bumped.” The heart does not hide its true self very well or very long. See Matthew 12:35 NLT.

It has been determined in studies of how people communicate that only 7% of our communication is based on actual verbal expression, 38% on tone of voice, and 55% on non-verbal signals – such as facial expression, hand gestures, body language, and posture. Imagine how little is conveyed by your words and how very much is communicated by matters otherwise hidden within you.

I recently became fascinated with a TV program, Lie to Me, which supposedly used the science of micro-expressions – unconscious and involuntary signals – to determine a person’s truthfulness or lack thereof. It wasn’t their words that gave people away; it was what was inside. The point of all this for me is this: get your heart right and you will never have to worry about what comes out of your mouth. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT.

The Bible commands, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up . . Get rid of all bitterness . . and slander.” Ephesians 4:29/31 NIV. And what is the Bible’s antidote? Cleaning up the inside; getting your heart right. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other . .” Ephesians 4:32 NIV. Maybe learning to talk starts within the heart.

My prayer for you today is that only the good in your heart is expressed in your words.

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