“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” ~ Matthew 12:36
We’re all guilty of empty words, and they show up in two forms. Talking just to be heard is one. And then there’s the more subtle variety. Empty space because somebody who should have spoken up chose not to.
If you don’t know me very well, this may come as a bit of a surprise to you. I am a massive introvert. I wouldn’t call myself exactly shy these days, as my career choice sort of forced me to get comfortable with talking in public. But I used to be. For me lately it’s been more of a thing where idle conversation is draining.
Another aspect of being an introvert is I will replay conversations I’ve had for a long time after the fact. An extrovert can say something stupid and walk away from it. An introvert, on the other hand, will dwell on that stupid thing they said for a long time.
John Eldredge said this thing a few years back, and I can’t find it for the life of me. He said that people either talk too much or not enough. The challenge is figuring out which one you are and adjusting accordingly. And it’s one of life’s blind spots – a lot more difficult to pinpoint than we realize.
If you know you talk too much and sometimes dominate conversation, experiment with backing off a little bit, allowing others their say. If you, like me, know you don’t speak out enough because you just know you’re going to say something stupid you’ll regret later, go ahead and speak up anyway. We need your voice to be part of the conversation.
Or it could be a thing where you don’t know which one you are. It’s crazy how a lot of people think they’re shy but they really talk a lot. Or because they often feel like they speak out and regret it, people might think they talk too much.
Pray and ask God to help you figure out where you land on this spectrum and try to do a little better. Also, be sure to get the advice of a few people you trust. These blind spots in life are exactly why God has placed other people in their lives.
Whatever it looks like for you, avoid empty talk. Instead, use your voice as a way to lift others up and point them to God.