Dr. Deb Roy, a researcher and cognitive scientist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recorded the first 3 years of his child’s life to learn how humans acquire language. He and his wife rigged their home with recording devices, which they used to collect over 200,000 hours of audio and video footage. Amassing, condensing, and editing the recordings enabled them to hear baby sounds like “gaga” evolve into words like “water.”
If someone wanted to conduct a research project at your home, would you participate if you knew that your every syllable would be recorded and analyzed? What would the study reveal? Proverbs 18 offers insight about some unwise speech patterns. The writer notes that foolish people express their own opinions instead of trying to understand what others have to say (v.2). Does this characterize us? Do we sometimes provoke fights with our words (v.7), or speak impulsively and “answer a matter before [hearing] it”? (v.13).
We need to become students of our speech. With God’s help we can identify and transform destructive dialogue into words of encouragement that are “good for necessary edification” and that “impart grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29).
Our words have the power to build up or tear down.