Matthew 12:36-37 “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
It is at times fascinating (or depressing) how often people are caught doing the very things they tend to condemn – in others, at any rate. Just in the past week a politician was exposed as being/doing the very things he had loudly been accusing the president of. For that mater, I can think of a number of preachers who have been exposed as being guilty of the very things they preached against. This hits a lot closer to home as well, because we are all quick to see our own faults in others, whether or not we recognize them in ourselves. On top of that, Jesus went so far as to say, “every careless word.” The Japanese says, “wasteful word,” and I’ve seen it translated as “unprofitable word.” I think that hits everybody! It’s a scary thing to be accountable for everything we say! This is just another reason we are all totally dependent on the grace and mercy of God. The flip side of that is that simply not talking isn’t the answer either. My wife just gave me an audio teaching series on marriage counseling (since I do a lot of it) entitled Speech Therapy. When I first saw the case, I thought it was related to the fact that I also teach speech therapists! I haven’t listened to it yet, but reading the blurb I see that it’s talking about how essential it is to communicate, and words are the major tool we’ve been given to do that. What Jesus is saying here is that our communication needs to build up and not tear down, giving praise to God rather than giving people reason to curse Him, and us.
As a person who essentially makes his living by words, this hits close to home! I enjoy words, both as tools and as toys, and doubtless use too many of them. I will confess to an advanced case of “pun disease,” which is unique among diseases in that it makes the people around the individual suffer more than the individual himself! That is of course a joke, but I do need to be very careful that my words don’t wound. My father once pointed out to me many years ago that I had a gift for words, but that whereas words must sometimes be used as a scalpel, to cut away malignancy, they must never be infected with pride or malice. I have used words as weapons far more often than I like to think about. I’ll have to answer for that! My words are to bring light and life and laughter, whether spoken or written, for the glory of God.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the opportunity You gave me yesterday to bless people through a public prayer, and for the feedback I got that I had done so. Thank You for the Internet, through which I can share Your words with many. Help me be more and more like Jesus, who only spoke what He heard You saying, (John 14:24) so that the works of the devil may be destroyed (1 John 3:8) and people be brought to life in Christ, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!