Words. They are a powerful thing. Words can lift people up and encourage them or they can tear people down and cause great pain. Too often in my life I have said hurtful things to people — even those I love. In a moment of anger, careless words have emerged from my lips.
This was the thought I was left with when I read Matthew 12:36-37: “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned (NASB).” It is humbling to consider that I will be held accountable for “every careless word” I speak.
Careless words are the ones that come out of me because I do not control my tongue. It is a difficult thing to show restraint, particularly when anger boils within me. As James points out in 3:9, our tongues can both bless “our Lord and Father” and curse people “made in the likeness of God (NASB).” To think of people as image bearers of God is to take care in the words we use when speaking to them.
James spares no words in pointing out, “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison (3:8).” On our own, we cannot tame our tongue, but with God we can temper our words. May we humbly seek God to guard our heart; to help us speak words that bless others.
© 2021 CGThelen
The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. – Luke 6:45