“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:37
The Bible is very concerned with our speech.
From the proverbs to the gospels to the epistles of Paul we find command after command regarding what we ought to say. And why is that? Is it because what we say can damage our public witness as ambassadors of Christ? Is it because we ought to display love and graciousness in our speech? Is it because we are foolish when we speak too quickly and listen too slowly?
Yes. And, of course, because of this truth straight from Jesus Himself:
“A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart” (Luke 6:45).
Our words reveal our hearts.
We might think we believe one thing, and even profess at times confidence in that belief, but eventually, we will actually tell the truth. The truth of what’s in our hearts will eventually become audible.
Christians, then, ought to be very concerned with what they say (or, in our current culture, what they post).
But lest we only think about our language only in terms of things like gossip, slander, or coarse joking, there are other statements – statements revealing who we really are – that we also ought to be very alarmed by. If we find ourselves saying things like these, we would do well to immediately start examining the state of our souls.
Here are three examples:
1. It won’t happen to me.
“Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
This is a statement of pride. We look at those around us – whether in the news or in our personal relationships – and it’s easy to see their struggle with sex, substances, power, or whatever. Our first thought might be shock or concern for their family or dismay at how things have gotten so bad, but if the next thought that comes into our minds is as prideful as, “It won’t happen to me.”, then we think very highly of ourselves indeed. This could absolutely happen to us because we are more than capable of such things apart from the grace of Jesus.
2. I’m too good for that.
“Somebody has to clean the toilet.”
It’s a good life principle, as true in the workplace as it is in the church as it is in the home. The problem is that no one really likes to clean the toilet. But there’s a difference between not liking something, and considering yourself above doing something. Sadly, this is how our minds and our hearts work. We pile up our degrees, our accomplishments, our compliments, our responsibilities – and then we sit on top of that pile looking down at those below us. Meanwhile, there is a toilet to be cleaned at the bottom. Paul put it like this:
“For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think” (Romans 12:3).
Be wary, Christian, if you start making statements about that which you consider yourself above.
3. I can do it alone.
“The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive” (Proverbs 27:6).
We need each other. We need each other precisely because our flesh is not strong enough. So we need each other to tell us the truth and to help each other grow toward godliness. This mutual discipleship is God’s intent for His people, whereby we journey with one another on the road of maturity, reminding each other that we must place our whole confidence in the Lord and Him alone. If we come to the point where either by our actions or inactions, we prove that we really do think we can live life alone, then that confidence is sorely misplaced.
Our words reveal our hearts, friends.
So perhaps instead of speaking today, we would do well to take a little inventory of just what those words might really be speaking about us.
Written by Michael Kelley, Guest Contributor
To read more of Michael’s writing, check out his daily blog, Forward Progress http://michaelkelley.co/