20 August 2009

Powlison: Small Talk

'On the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak . . .' --Matt 12:36

In God's view, there is never an inconsequential word that someone says. Every word counts. . . . When you climb into anything a person ever says, you actually find profound things revealed about what they're about, what they're after, what their intentions are, what their worldview is. Even in small talk, there is a revelation of the heart that God is searching out; he is weiging the intentionality of small talk. Small talk is counsel.

To put it simply: if we're just chatting small talk, at heart it is either a way for me to say 'I don't want to know you and I don't want you to know me, so I'm going to keep it light, and make it as quick as possible, and see you later.' Or, small talk is a way to say, 'I care about you. I'd like to get to know you.' We can talk about the football team, or the weather, and it's actually an expression of two human beings making that connection, but it's because we love each other or want to know each other. And small talk is going to be judged by God for the kind of deep intentionality that there is. In other words, small talk is counsel.

--David Powlison, in an interview with C.J. Mahaney, available here

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