“… It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.” – Matthew 12:36-37 (MSG).
Our words are very powerful. Our words, often so recklessly spoken, carry more weight than most of us can imagine. In fact, hardly a week goes by in which you and I don’t read or hear about some celebrity, elected official, or admired athlete whose words have gotten them into hot water. But the matter goes far deeper than being “politically correct.” Our words reveal the state of our hearts.
Scripture is clear that words can be powerful. In Matthew 12, Jesus teaches the connection between our words and our hearts. He says that simply trying harder to be good will not work because the root of the problem is within us. He says: “You must determine if a tree is good or rotten. You can recognize good trees by their delicious fruit. But if you find rotten fruit, you can be certain that the tree is rotten. The fruit defines the tree. …How can your words be good and trustworthy if you are rotten within? For what has been stored up in your hearts will be heard in the overflow of your words! When virtue is stored within, the hearts of good and upright people will produce good fruit. But when evil is hidden within, those who are evil will produce evil fruit.” (Matthew 12:33–35 TPT)
The words we speak show what is in our hearts. If our hearts are evil, then the words we speak and write will be evil too. In James 3:8, God’s Word says: “but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.” Transforming the tongue begins with a change in the heart. Jesus said, “But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you.” (Matthew 15:18) The heart influences the tongue. When it is full of anger, selfishness, envy, pride, it will affect everything we do.
Something needs to change within us. Our focus needs to be transformed. Instead of looking for the bad in a situation, we need to look for the good. Instead of being preoccupied with self-interest, we need to focus on the interests of others. Changing our hearts is a good place to start. The Bible teaches, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” James 1:19-20
- What needs to change to better control the tongue?
- What would we do differently this week if you knew your words were powerful?