Monday, September 19, 2016


I take issue with some who might say that talking to yourself is a sign that you have some mental problem. 

Don't we all know men who talk to their cars or to their computers (sometimes not very nicely!) and to other mechanical and technical non-human objects? Women may talk to their mirrors or their wardrobes or even their bodies. We have every reason to talk to ourselves, when we need to. Especially talk to our souls to remind ourselves to pay attention to what we know to be right and true.

I believe there is good biblical precedent to addressing oneself. In Psalm 42 David talks to his soul, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.” In other words, “Come on, soul, you have no reason to be despondent. Why be upset? Look at the big picture from God's side, Of course He will never let you down!” 

David obviously talked to his soul a whole lot because his soul so often needed shoring up and support when he was dragging. As we read the Psalms, the great and mighty king David seemed to be in one distress after another and having an on-going pity party. Maybe his soul needed a scolding, as in the above passage. How about our souls?

On another occasion Jonathan, David's good buddy, “encouraged David.” But there will not always be a Jonathan around who will encourage us or lift us up or perhaps correct us. In a time of heavy duty trouble when all seemed lost and everyone turned against him, David “encouraged himself in the Lord His God.” That's when self-talk is critically needed.

In the New Testament we can find a number of occasions when people talked to themselves. The rich businessman used self-talk to convince himself that he needed a mega-building program for storage warehouses for his overflowing prosperity so he could be secure in retirement, not realizing that his soul would be required of him that very night. Then in Luke 15 the prodigal son gave himself a stern tongue lashing when at last he hit bottom in the pig pen. That talking to made sense to him and led him to get up out of the slop and go home to his father's house.

In the book of Jude he exhorts us to “build yourselves up” on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, “keeping yourselves” in the love of God. We aren't supposed to be coddled all the time, expecting to be spoon fed our spiritual nourishment when we should be the mature ones. Let's grow up.

We need to take responsibility for our own nourishment by building ourselves up. Body building does have a little value, writes Saint Paul, but taking responsibility for building up our own spirits is what reaps eternal results. And if that takes a good talking to ourselves, taking ourselves in hand, and shaking ourselves to sober up and obey what we know to be God's will—then so be it!

How long has it been since you or I have taken a good look at our spiritual selves in a mirror and given ourselves a good talking to? If we can't see ourselves clearly enough to talk straight to ourselves without any excuses, God may have to send along a Nathan to tell us a little story with a very sharp personal moral. (2 Samuel 12:1-13)

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