“And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” – Matthew 12:36-37.
Nothing matches the exhilaration of hearing your baby’s first words. The language development months can be a lot of fun — especially when you’ve been impatiently waiting for the first “mama” or “dada.” Parents are as excited as they can be. They tell everyone around about it, share it on Facebook, and encourage the child to say it over again. Once the child starts talking you tell him or her to “use your words.” As soon as the child learns how to string words together, they chatter nonstop. There’s no filter and they parrot words they have heard in places where those words shouldn’t be said.
Children have an excuse. We as adults, not so much. Consequently, we spend a lot of time considering the right words to say, the right tone to use, and the right time to speak. God’s Word tells us that it is not only what we say and how we say it that is important. What is equally important is what we choose not to say. Ecclesiastes 5:2 (NIV) says, “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” In other words, don’t make careless statements in the heat of the moment without considering how they would be received.
Jesus used His words to bring life and hope to people. And He went beyond just His words. Jesus listened. He wept with those grieving, served those who were hungry, ate with those who were rejected and persecuted, and healed those who were broken. We must follow Jesus’ example.
Proverbs tells us that, “The tongue can bring death or life…” (Proverbs 18:21) Words have so much influence they can cause a person’s life to change. Proverbs 16:24 (NIV) says, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
As Christians, our words should be of the life-giving variety. We should use our words to graciously build others up. The Bible makes very clear the value of having kind and thoughtful words rather than quick ones. Even with people we do not necessarily like, our words of kindness and love can make a difference. We won’t always know if our words were enough to soften someone’s heart, but we can trust in the promises of God’s word as we are showing love toward others.
Our words should reflect our relationship with God. You always have a choice when you speak. Remember, the world is watching how Christians treat each other and other people. We are walking, talking representatives of Jesus. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
What will your last words be? Consider what Jesus said at the beginning of that painful time of the crucifixion, on Good Friday. He’s on the cross, He’s dying, He’s beaten for our sins, and He said, “…Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing…” (Luke 23:34)
- The quality of your life is directly connected to the content of your conversation. Agree or disagree and why?
- Can you remember a time when you weren’t careful with your words? What could you have said differently in that situation?