“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)
Our words have power. Just to hear someone say “I love you”, in whatever context (friend, familial, romantic) is supremely empowering. True love from an honest heart, expressed through simple words. It erases hurts, soothe raw nerves, calms timorous temperaments. And God is saying it all the time.
“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them, by the breath of His mouth.” (Psalm 33:6)
Let’s follow God’s lead. Not because of an irrational fear of judgment, but because we love Him. “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.” (Ephesians 5:1) And I’m not talking about creating galaxies and worlds and infinite space, I’m referring of course, to creating the feelings needed to sustain and build up the body of Christ. Our brothers and sisters in Him. Far, far more important.
It takes time to iron out the words we speak. And while I believe it’s within our power to do so, James (3:8) says that “the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” Ouch. Guilty! If we’re going to untwist our tongues and speak words that edify as opposed to tear down, we’ll need all the help from the Holy Spirit we can get!
“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt…” (Colossians 4:6)
If “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, what are “idle words”? “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” (Proverbs 18:8) A “talebearer” eh? Also known as a gossip. People’s secrets are precious. And if someone takes the time to not only share with you privileged information, but also to get to know you well enough to do so, realize that you’ve been given a piece of their heart. Something that needs guarding and tending. Be sure to share it with no one but God. It goes without saying.
Talk might be cheap, but it all depends on what you’re saying, right?
“Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias (Elijah): not knowing what He said.” (Luke 9:33, emphasis mine) This is Peter talking. Telling Jesus what He wants to do for Him, as well as Moses and Elijah. They two had just appeared to Jesus and were discussing the forthcoming events. Heavy stuff. And while Peter’s heart was right, it would seem that his desire to build “tabernacles” for them wasn’t quite the right response. Have you ever encountered an individual who, after you talk to them, realize that you just put your foot in your mouth? I have and it’s quite embarrassing. God the Father, however, speaks through the cloud in the verses following, saying “This is my beloved Son: hear Him.” (verse 35) Sometimes, all you really can contribute to a situation is silence. I’m not saying that Peter was a fool, he just wasn’t at the same level as Jesus or Moses or Elijah, he just thought he was. But, “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” ( Proverbs 17:28) Some things do indeed go without saying.
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29) When we live in the light of God’s words to us, and indeed the living Word (Jesus), then everything we say will end up being the right words at the right time. “But whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost” (Mark 13:11, emphasis mine)
But don’t be harsh with yourself. Our words are important. So much so, that God says He’ll even tell us what to say. You’ll know it, because it’s just so refreshingly different that what you’re generally accustomed to saying. Idle words? Please… One of the fruits of the Spirit is “temperance” (Galatians 5:23) or self-control.
*whispering* Pray this: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
And don’t forget to say “please” and “thank-you”.