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Spouting Off

Proverbs 18:13

Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.

Spout(verb)- to throw out forcibly and abundantly, as liquids through an office or a pipe; to eject in a jet; as, an elephant spouts water from his trunk.

I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to do this on a regular basis. Someone begins to explain something to me or voice their opinion on a matter and before they finish speaking…I jump in to offer up my opinion or to refute their argument. Sometimes I jump in to voice my concurrence, as if they had nothing to offer me that I didn’t know already. Either way, spouting off like this is both shameful and foolish.

Jesus Christ calls us to a life of extravagance in many ways via generosity, joy, courage, love, charity, service, and forgiveness…just to name a few. He also calls us to be generous listeners. On the flipside, Christ also calls us to a life of restraint as we struggle against the world, our flesh, and the devil himself. He also calls on us to restrain our mouths. James put it most succinctly when he wrote, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (Jas. 1:19). Please note the mathematical content contained within that single and profoundly powerful passage: We should place twice as much emphasis on restraining our speech and anger as we do on the words we choose to speak. Sometimes I don’t like that James guy very much.

A wise man always listens intently, choosing to invest in what others have to say before he dares to invest their own thoughts into the conversation. Wise men listen well, because they must gather all the facts forming an explanation or affecting a situation. They must sort through and discard the details not affecting the matter and focus only on those that are important. The man already thinking about his answer, or worse yet, already talking, has foolishly cut short the process. He is a fool. You will meet many of them. Try not to be one yourself.