Sunday, July 16, 2017

Big Talk

“The woman Folly is loud;
she is undisciplined and without knowledge.
She sits at the door of her house,
on a seat at the highest point of the city,
calling out to those who pass by,
who go straight on their way.
‘Let all who are simple come in here!’
she says to those who lack judgment.
‘Stolen water is sweet;
food eaten in secret is delicious!’
But little do they know that the dead are there,
that her guests are in the depths of the grave.” Proverbs 9:13-18

“a chattering fool comes to ruin.” Proverbs 10:10b

“When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise.” Proverbs 10:19

“he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.” Proverbs 12:11b
“the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.” Proverbs 28:19b

“An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk,
but a righteous man escapes trouble.” Proverbs 12:13

“The way of a fool seems right to him,
but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

“He who guards his lips guards his life,
but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3

“Every prudent man acts out of knowledge,
but a fool exposes his folly.” Proverbs 13:16

“A fool’s talk brings a rod to his back,
but the lips of the wise protect them.” Proverbs 14:3

“Stay away from a foolish man,
for you will not find knowledge on his lips.” Proverbs 14:7

“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
but the folly of fools is deception.” Proverbs 14:8

“There is a way that seems right to a man,
but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12

 “All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Proverbs 14:23

“The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” Proverbs 15:2

“The discerning heart seeks knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.” Proverbs 15:14

“Folly delights a man who lacks judgment,” Proverbs 15:21a

 “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him,
but motives are weighed by the LORD.” Proverbs 16:2

“Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

“A discerning man keeps wisdom in view,
but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” Proverbs 17:24

“A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,” Proverbs 17:27a

“A fool finds no pleasure in understanding
but delights in airing his own opinions.” Proverbs 18:2

“The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters,
but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” Proverbs 18:4

“A fool’s lips bring him strife,” Proverbs 18:6a

“A fool’s mouth is his undoing,
and his lips are a snare to his soul.” Proverbs 18:7

“From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled;
with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.” Proverbs 18:20

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue
keeps himself from calamity.” Proverbs 21:23

“Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1

“He who trusts in himself is a fool,
but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” Proverbs 28:26

Lip service. 

Embellishment of past accomplishments or future plans. 

Boasting of what we plan to do (somehow more socially acceptable than boasting of what we have already done).

Dream-catcher verboseness that we believe keeps us whimsical in appearance.

Social boldness of opinion arising out of pride (to cover inner insecurity). 

On and on go loose lips. The way of the tongue is multifarious. But the outcome is consistently predictable: folly—nothing more than “dust in the wind” as the rock band Kansas put it. 

And yet, even dust in the wind irritates. defines folly as:

“the state or quality of being foolish; lack of understanding or sense”

 “a costly and foolish undertaking; unwise investment or expenditure”

 “a foolish action, practice, idea, etc.; absurdity.”

The part I want to focus on is the “idea” part, or the point at which the foolish idea makes its way into words which may or may not lead to action. More often than not, once we speak the words, inaction follows because the mere speaking of the words is enough.

I know of what I speak. Nobody ever called me on my constant running commentary, because it was perfectly acceptable and common to talk a lot and “dream big” when I was growing up. I was completely unaware of what a poser and false witness to myself, and the real world, that I was.

Talk is cheap. Most people love it and count it as “conversation,” especially when alcohol is involved. It’s easy to spin webs of grandeur and “what if" -- easy to “keep telling yourself that" -- when primed with the rose-colored glasses of liquor.

But it didn’t stop there. 

In my sober moments, it was my imagined “romantic, free spirit” that usually got the best of me—the singing of Don McLean’s Vincent or American Pie or the reading of Thoreau’s Walden that would ferret me into delusions of lofty ideals that countered, in my mind, the pervasive shortcomings of “this world” that apparently only I was sensitive enough to notice or care about.

So words would flow out of a growing self-righteousness, along with groundless projections for the person I was to become. But those schemes never got any further than my lips and the ears of those listening.

Instead, they ricocheted back to me, only to be fed on for a little while longer before being filed away in the cabinet of “lost interest.” 

I either could not evolve as the person I had snow-globed myself into, or I quickly realized that the attempt didn’t quite measure up to the Don McLean feeling I had expected. 

Left wanting, I would move on to the next folly-in-waiting, and thus, the years of Gary Wright dream-weaving came and went, one after another.

Words run smooth and fast, caught in a current of self. They are easy, free and available to all. And oh, so tempting.

With them we craft futures out of oblivion, recklessly forging ahead because words, like numbers—so we tell ourselves—are concrete and material: they don’t lie when spoken out of good intentions.

So in well-meaning positive and counter-cultural thinking, we wax different from the world with our concoctions; our goal is to stand out, to satiate a craving to matter and be relevant. But the benefits, if any, are temporary at best and insidiously trapping at worst because we are operating from a foundation of foolish motives, not from a place of wisdom.

And the place of wisdom, as we see in Proverbs, and as anyone who has come to know the Lord Jesus understands, is with God alone.

Proverbs 4:7 says,

“Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom,
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

I will end with this, which is the answer to the folly of “big talk:”

“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,


For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, things which we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2

 copyright Barb Harwood

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