I don’t know about you, but my speech often gets me into trouble. I tend to say things that may not be appropriate for a certain situation or just speak without knowing all the facts of a story. Either way, speech is a very tricky thing. But it’s not just my words cause difficulty, in fact, more often than not it’s my tone.
Words Reveal Your Heart
We all are fairly familiar with Matthew 12:34 “You brood of Vipers! How can you speak good when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (ESV). The point Jesus was trying to make is that we only speak what we know, and what we know is usually stored in our heart and mind. So if our hearts and minds are full of bitterness and anger, our words will be too. We know this because He says in Matthew 15 that “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” Our words reveal the status of our heart.
Build up or Tear Down
One of my favorite songs is by Hawk Nelson, the title? “Words”. I love it because it very clearly explains the power words can have over us. I’m certain this song was inspired by the verses in James “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.” James 3:8-10. Our words have the ability to make someone’s day or completely shatter them. We have the power to encourage or discourage anyone we come into contact with.
Careless Speech and Our Family
You would think that knowing the power of our words would make us much more careful with what we say and how we say it, and to an extent I think it does. We are generally very careful about what we say when in public. We want people to think well of us, to make a good impression, to avoid offending anyone. But something happens we get into the comfort of our own homes around people we know and love. We get comfortable and careless. Unfortunately, I fear my kids get the brunt of my careless and harsh language.
I say things in frustration, that I usually don’t mean and later regret. I make promises with no intention of actually following through. I scream and yell when I begin to get overwhelmed and annoyed. It’s this kind of sleep that haunts my memories and fills me with guilt and regret, especially when I remember that “…on the day of judgement, people will give account for every careless word they speak.” Matthew 12:36 (ESV).
Freed From Slavery
But praise God that we are free from the slavery of sinful words and speech! Thanks to the Holy Spirit, we have the ability to choose encouraging and God honoring speech. And we no longer live in fear of condemnation for the words we have spoken and will speak. It’s because of this freedom that we can pray for our speech with confidence knowing that we can “Ask and it will be given to [us]; seek and [we] will find; knock and it will be opened to [us].”
Pleasing to God
Two verses that I use when praying for my speech. The first is Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teachings of kindness are on her tongue.” I ask God to fill my mouth with wisdom and kindness that I may better glorify Him.
So as you go on with your day, let me leave you with my second favorite verse on the topic of words. It’s this verse that reminds me of the ultimate goal each word we speak should have, namely, the Glory of God.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.Psalm 19:14 ESV