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Chatters-How Do We Handle Them?

I was running late for a very important appointment; time was of the essence. As I got to my destination I ran into an old acquaintance, who as I seemed to recall loved to “chatter.”

Hey, there you are! Haven’t seen you in years! What’s happening? Well, I have a lot to tell you, blah blah blah blah….”

Then I said to myself, “yep, she’s a chatter I remember now.”

I managed to get by with a couple of friendly chit-chat exchanges. But she wanted to keep on going. So, I unfortunately cut her off, “sorry I’m late. I must go, great to see you again…”

I felt bad about being so blunt and cutting her short. But-I had to. It brought me to think of many people who call and want to just keep chatting about absolutely nothing. Don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with chit-chat among friends, family, co-workers, etc. But it is a problem when it gets to be inane and “gossipy” and filled with negative overtures that go against the grain of Christianity.

2 Timothy 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” This verse highlights the importance of avoiding empty and meaningless conversations that lead away from godliness.

Christianity teaches that words have the power to build up or tear down. The Bible encourages believers to engage in conversations that are edifying and beneficial to the listener. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” This scripture underscores the value of speaking in a way that is constructive and encouraging. Moreover, good Christian talk is not just about avoiding harmful speech but also about actively using words to support and uplift others.

It’s not to say we can’t have conversations about fun things and what we did or share bits of our lives with others – of course that is not to which I am referring. I am talking about “non-stop chatters.”

1 Timothy 5:13: And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

I remember while working in Bel-Air Manor – Nursing home. There was a female patient that used to flee from another patient when she saw her coming down the corridor!  Many times, she’d burst into my office and say “Shh, please let me stay here until Margaret is out of sight. She will start chatting and I won’t break free until dinner or sleep time!”

I had to keep from laughing – because in a way it was kind of funny-but I understood and acquiesced to her pleas.

However, having been in similar situations, I really can appreciate Josephine and her dilemma with Margaret more clearly now at as I age. Time is flying and we need to be doing things and taking care of things – without idle chit-chat to hinder us!

However, short of running into someone’s office and hiding from the individual who “chatters” – how do we handle these times and situations without hurting someone, or having them feel like we don’t care about them?

Handling idle “chit-chat” in a Christian manner involves a balance of grace and truth. Here are some steps we might consider.

  1. Listen with Patience: Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Start by listening patiently, which can often show respect for the other person. But preface by saying I have an appointment, so I’m afraid my time is limited.
  2. Speak with Love: Ephesians 4:15 encourages us to speak the truth in love. When it’s time to redirect the conversation, do so gently and kindly. “I have to get going, although I understand you would like to continue talking, I’m afraid I have tasks and issues to attend to.
  3. Set Boundaries: It’s okay to set boundaries on your time and attention. You can politely excuse yourself from a conversation if necessary -but if you have time try to steer it towards more meaningful topics.
  4. Be an Example: Model the type of conversation you value. Share something uplifting or encouraging, as Philippians 4:8 suggests, focusing on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.
  5. Pray for Guidance: James 1:5 tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault. Pray for the right words and approach in each unique situation.  Remember I am referring to non-stop chatters who go on and on without stop. Engaging in talk that is sometimes harmful to both speaker and listener!

Remember, the goal isn’t to avoid people who engage in idle talk but to influence the conversation in a positive way without causing offense. It’s about reflecting Christ’s love and grace in all interactions.

The next time you see your “Margaret” think about how you can extricate yourself with class, poise and finesse with the heart of a Christian at the forefront.

“LORD, I come before You, seeking wisdom and discernment in all interactions. Grant me the grace to handle every conversation with Your love and kindness, that I may be a light unto others. Help me to find the right words and behavior befitting a Christian in my encounters, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”


C D SWANSON is an Author of 22 plus books, freelance writer, contributor to various websites, including The Bottom Line Ministries/Faith News. She's an active member of Faithwriters- and has her online website/ministry for over 15 years. It is her greatest joy to write what’s in her heart, and thus her favorite form of expression is in her devotionals. She and her husband share a deep love of God and dote on their fur baby Mickey. Retired Director from Long Term Healthcare Industry, she continues to be an advocate for many. To check out other writings of this author you can go here:

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