Last week at a public business where several other people were waiting, employees behind the counter were entertaining themselves by talking loudly and rudely about other patrons as they left the room as well as talking about phone calls they were receiving. It was unbelievable and I could only think, “folks, there is always someone listening.”
I went to social media to place that thought as a reminder to discuss it in the future. By the end of the day, that Facebook post had a plethora of responses. I was genuinely intrigued by how this accidental experiment arose from the interaction. My OP became a landing zone for how other people viewed the context in which I spoke.
The comments are a wonderful case study on how we perceive information. I gave no context at all about what I meant or the reason for the post. While I surely had some philosophical thoughts on the matter, I had not written or spoken to anyone about it. The comments centered around several themes.
Most of the comments agreed that the Lord is always listening. He does. Prayer is the discipline of talking to the Lord and according to the Bible, He does hear our prayers. I find this encouraging and not at all surprising due to the normal context of my voice. And, I would have been writing about this for sure. Not only does the Lord God hear His people, but He also hears every word we speak, even the ugly things we say about others.
Some comments focused on the idea that the government listens through whatever means necessary.
Siri and Alexa
Like the NSA, these devices’ AI certainly does keep tabs on what we talk about. I can’t keep up with the times I’ve received ads or sponsored articles related to the things we’ve been discussing.
A few endeared to thank me for being one who listens. For the most part, I do desire to engage and hear the needs of others. But, I am not perfect and I too have areas of deafness and blindness.
What we say in every sense matters. And, yes, there is always the chance someone is listening, even if it’s just our coworkers or our own ears. The more we talk a certain way the more we are pressed into that mold. If we don’t pay attention we might even become a different person, one that gets joy in bashing and destroying others for kicks.
Proverbs 13:3; “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”
Ephesians 4:29; “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Proverbs 18:19; “A brother who has been insulted is harder to win back than a walled city, and arguments separate people like the barred gates of a palace.”
Colossians 3:8; “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”
James 1:26; “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
May our talk always be seasoned with grace. And it gives me joy when I and others have a positive context in which we take what we hear. And in the end, we have to be kind and gentle with those who don’t.
How do you see your current week ahead? What are you looking forward to? I’d love to hear in the comments.