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Jesus says Every Careless Word Will Be Held Into Account. Am I in Trouble?

From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:20-21

Have you ever said something thoughtlessly (not intending anyone harm) and ended up hurting someone’s feelings? Maybe you were mad or frustrated, so you vented (gossiped) to someone, or maybe you were just trying to joke about something you didn’t know much about, but the words came out and did their damage. Or maybe you had the right thing to say, but at the wrong time. You spoke a mighty word to someone who was not yet ready to hear it, and it damaged a relationship, or multiple ones. There may even have been something you said that someone misheard, or because they didn’t understand your intentions, they became angry and broke fellowship with you. And that’s the thing about words: they matter. With a word, God spoke, and stars and planets, animals and continents came in to being. With a word, a Dead man walked out of a tomb, and with a word, the deb was paid on the Cross. As a friend of mine says “words have a long shelf life.” In Matthew, Jesus gives a pretty condemning speech about words: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37

The Word of God (Jesus), He who was NEVER careless, in words and in actions, says that people will be given an account of every word they speak. As someone called to speak to God’s people, that thought terrifies me: have my words been careless? Have I said the right thing at the wrong time? Have I spoken carelessly, and my words cut someone open like a Knife? Loved ones, we need to keep watch on our tongues. Everything we do and say will be scrutinized some day, so let’s, like Jesus, make our words and our actions be on purpose, not saying, speaking, or teaching anything that may lead someone down a dark path. Let our tongues bring life, and speak the Truth of God’s Word, so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be spread throughout the word, bringing life from death.

James 3

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

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