Taken from “Life Transfigured” A Journal of Orthodox Nuns, Nativity 2006. Publication of The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA.
First, let us look at how we are to speak, and what sorts of words we are to use. The words coming from our lips first and foremost are to be an offering, a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God. Even in seemingly bad situations we are to offer to God worship and praise at all times. ‘Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.’ (James 5:13)
Scripture also makes it very clear how we are not to speak: ‘do not grumble against one another, brethern, let you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is at the door.’ (James 5:9) Murmurring is one of the biggest sins before God. It shows little faith in the truth that He knows all and that all is sent by Him for our benefit.
In today’s complex and chaotic world we are surrounded by complaining to the point that it is now seen as an accepted way to speak rather than an ugly way. We need to be patient with and not condemn each other, as we all fall into sin – our Lord remains patient with us.
Lastly, is it necessary to be always talking? If we had to write out all we want to say, we would surely find ourselves saying less. Praying first would also limit our words. ‘Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.’ (Ephesians 4:29).