Careless Words

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Today’s Scripture: Matthew 12

Matthew 12: 34-37 The Message (MSG)

34 “You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. 35 A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. 36 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. 37 Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.”

I have lived a while – 68 years. I have learned, am still learning, the power of words. I remember vividly in my years as a police officer (You didn’t know that about me, did you? Twenty-two years in the Oregon, OH police division.) how often words ushered people into situations where they didn’t want to be. I remember in the years before I was a cop, as a bartender, how often people used their words to manipulate others into doing something that they may not have wanted to do. Then, as a pastor and spiritual director, I listened to people’s words as they tried to identify their feelings and thoughts, describing why they thought what they said was necessary. We use words to defend, to justify, to celebrate, to manipulate, to emasculate, to encourage, to describe, to identify, to glorify. Our words have power. Our words are (oh my!) a reflection of the condition of our hearts.

B.C. (before Christ), my words were often profane, sarcastic, demeaning, and wielded as a weapon. I was quite skilled with weaponized words! My gift kept me out of a lot of physical altercations, but those same techniques were not so effective with my family! When I accepted Christ, the profanity went (mostly!). However, I joked that I had the spiritual gift of sarcasm until a dear brother in Christ pointed out to me how hurtful and disrespectful sarcasm is to the person on the receiving end. What a journey this has been for me! When I read these verses, I seriously tremble!

Verse 36-37 says, “Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you.” It’s true! It’s Scripture! The New Living Translations it says, And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.

Your words have the power of life and death in your relationships! Choose them wisely. Choose them with love. Remember, every one of those careless words will come back to haunt you! We will all give an accounting one day. We will hear our words played back for us. Will yours be words of love and encouragement, or not? Remember, your words reflect the condition of your heart!

Are you comfortable with the knowledge that you will be held accountable for your words? How might you speak differently?

Next Steps:
Join me in repenting, in being truly sorry, for the words you have used to hurt people, especially those whom you love. Ask them for forgiveness. Start using your words to encourage, uplift, praise, and love.

Lord Jesus, I pray as King David prayed: Create in me a clean heart, O God, Renew a right spirit within me! Do not banish me from your presence and don’t take your Holy Spirit[d] from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation. (Psalm 51:10-12)

I desire to obey you, Jesus! Please, help me use my mouth to encourage people, to glorify you, to make your love known. Thank you that while my words have been recorded, my forgiveness, by your righteousness, was won on the cross! Amen.

This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people who God used to start CedarCreek 21 years ago, and was on staff until 2013. She and her husband Mike love to travel the country in their motor home with their kitties Jane & Mary. Lauri is passionate about prayer, and about helping women discover who they are in Christ. She doesn’t tweet but you can follow her and Mike’s adventures on Facebook.

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2 replies
  1. Cathy Thibodeau
    Cathy Thibodeau says:

    Great post again, Lauri. “Your words reveal the condition of your heart.” So true. Nowadays I work at using words of love and encouragement. It’s not easy today! Thanks for your post!

  2. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    Words are very powerful. I once heard a story of a pastor going into a barber shop and the barber was trying to hint to another gentleman that there was a man of God in the house so watch what you say. He said imagine if we lived life like the God of man is always in the house. How differently would we choose our words and our actions. I continue to pray and work on my words while at work. Working in an ICU setting, while it’s no excuse, becomes stressful and the brain takes over what the heart knows.

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