Simplifying our Speech
By Collin Mayjack
Begin with prayer (5 minutes)
Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Have somebody lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.
Debrief in Triads (5–10 minutes)
Did you make time during the last week to spend time before the Lord discovering and reflecting on where you are content and where you struggle with ongoing discontentment?
How did it go?
Read this overview (5 minutes)
Most of us know the feeling of saying something and then later regretting it. The problem is, most of what comes out of our mouth isn’t something we consciously think about, but happens automatically.
Jesus’ haunting teaching is that, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Meaning that what we say is a reflection of our inner world, for better or for worse. This is where the practice, or spiritual discipline, of simplicity comes in. Simplicity of speech is a serious attempt to discipline our speech to take on the quality of Jesus’ speech in what we say. It involves what we do say and what we don’t say. In simplicity of speech, we resolve to use fewer words, and to use our words purposefully; to tell the truth, to express our desires clearly, to build one another up, and to bless.
To that end, this week we’ll begin with a discussion about the nature of our speech and then provide a practice for the week ahead that will be an exercise in simplicity of speech.
Work through these questions together as a Community (25 minutes)
- When was the last time you regretted what you said or said too much?
- What will be more difficult for you: Speaking less or using your words for good (truth, clearly stating what you want, building people up, blessing)?
Discuss the coming week’s Practice (10 minutes)
The Practice for this week is simple. Set a goal to catch yourself 1–3 times per day before you speak and choose to be silent instead. This could be a moment when you would interject your opinion, share how you feel about someone, provide advice, or just fill the space. Instead, choose not to say anything. Then, take some time to reflect on how choosing silence over words made you feel.
The goal here is not for you to feel hesitant or self-conscious in every conversation in the week ahead, but to notice what happens when we choose not to speak.
Work through these questions before calling it a night (10 minutes)
- How do you feel about this Practice?
- As you consider your life and personality, in which situations might you find it difficult not to speak?