Do we say things to others and then, after that we regret what we have said? We use our minds and mouths often. Sometimes, we speak faster than we think. Before we process our thoughts, we release our words. We may not be able to anticipate how others may respond. Some respond well but some do not. How transparent are we? How open are we in sharing our thoughts and feelings? We restrain ourselves or refrain from sharing because we do not know how our hearers may think or feel about us. We may not know what others are thinking but we can only make some guesses. Sometimes, our guesses are incorrect or incongruent unless we know that person well. Relationship is affected by the way we speak and by the words we use. Words are important. How we say them and how use them are crucial! They either lift the spirit up or dampen the spirit. I assume that we know that words are Relevant, Important, Powerful and Encouraging (R.I.P.E.). Knowing is one thing but applying what we know is still another. How often we fail in this area of thinking correctly about others and of speaking correctly to others! We need to learn to be prudent in how we think and how we speak.
I would like us to consider these few Bible verses and ponder over them:
“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 12:36-37 ESV).
Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3 NIV1984).
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14 NIV1984).
From these Bible verses, I would like to share with us two points, firstly, “God is warning us” and secondly, “God is watching at us”.
Firstly, God is warning us. Careless speech makes worship worthless, regardless how much we put in the offering. Careful speech is the hallmark of a virtuous life. In Matthew 12:36-37, Jesus was warning the religious leaders regarding the words that they had spoken. These two verses are in the context of “A tree is known by its fruit.” (See Matthew 12:33-37). In verse 35, it clearly states that: “The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” This teaches us that we need to cultivate good values and principles in our lives so that what we say to others or teach others are the results of the good which we have in store in our life. In verses 36-37, God is warning us regarding our spoken words. Do we consider carefully before we utter words to one another? Do we process our thoughts enough before we speak out our minds? God is saying that by your words you are justified and by your words you are condemned. This shows the seriousness of our spoken words. Words spoken cannot be retrieved! That is why earlier I have mentioned that “Relationship is affected by the way we speak and by the words we use. Words are important. How we say them and how use them are crucial! They either lift the spirit up or dampen the spirit.” So, let us heed the warning of our God that we exercise care in our speech. May we cultivate careful speech when we relate with one another. May God “set a guard over our mouth and keep watch over the door of our lips.” (See Psalm 141:3)
Secondly, God is watching at us. Not only is God warning us, but He is also watching at us. When you know that someone is watching at you, you will be careful in how you talk and how you behave. If you are constantly connected with Jesus the Lord, you will not do anything which displeases Him. If you abide in Him, you will bear much fruit. By ourselves, we cannot do good or speak what is good but with and through Christ, we are able to do good or speak what is good for the hearers. We will not speak evil but good. We will be mindful of our words when we are abiding in Christ. The Spirit of Christ will enable us to reflect His goodness and righteousness in our lives. Conscious of the presence of God, we will not speak words that hurt but words that heal. We will consider carefully what to speak and what not to speak to please our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Making the effort to know and understand one another will help us to know how we should speak to each other. Exercise care in our speech will enrich our spiritual life and delight the King and the Lord. We do not want to be caught off guard regarding our careless speech, right? Let us draw close to God and He will draw close to us. Let us dwell richly in God’s precious Word so that we will speak words that encourage rather that discourage. Let us clearly discern the Will of God so that we will walk in love, speaking graciously and patiently to each other. With God’s Word and God’s Spirit guiding and helping us, we will be glad that God is watching at us. We will not fear but our faith in Christ will become stronger and firmer. Let us, therefore, allow God to be God and Lord of our lives. Amen.
Careless words! Careless speech makes worship worthless, regardless how much we put in the offering. Careful speech is the hallmark of a virtuous life. Realising that “God is warning us” and “God is watching at us” stir us to embrace a life which is filled with careful speech when we relate with God’s people and serve them.