We hear a ton about the power of positive thinking and speaking. I feel like I hear it so much that a message, sermon or article on it goes in one ear and out the other. I’m thinking to myself, “Yep, I know that. I’m positive, got it.”
But to be honest, I was on my way out of a rut when I realized I was doing the exact opposite.
I guess that’s a manifestation of pride…when we think we are such an expert in something and don’t need the reminder anymore.
For me, this proved pride really does lead to destruction. My words were getting out of hand and I wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying.
Finally, the Lord decided to give me a Word himself. Only then was I shaken awake to hear myself.
That afternoon, I was praying and asked God to speak to me through a Bible verse. Thinking He was going to console me with one of the many wonderful verses about His love, comfort, refuge and peace…I was in for a jarring reality check when I turned to Luke 12:2-3.
There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
My body froze and my mind raced with a fresh, holy fear of the Lord. He is very serious about what He says and what we say…so serious that He will expose it if we don’t check ourselves.
I suddenly heard echoes of thoughtless things I’d vented in private or muttered in my heart. After all, God cares most about our inner meditations because that’s where all of our words and actions originate.
Best-selling author Lysa Terkeurst says that careless words are like calories. Just because no one sees you eating them doesn’t mean they don’t affect you.
Matthew 5:8 sounded off inside me:
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God…
No wonder I hadn’t felt near to God lately…too much muttering and mumbling were clouding my heart. What started as my disappointment turned into talking about it…which is fine at first. But, it didn’t stop with a healthy processing session. I didn’t talk myself out of disappointment. I continued speaking myself into more disappointment. I basically invited Satan to my pity party and he was having a ball.
Words are powerful and create life or death, blessing or cursing, condemning or acquitting.
Here’s the thing. We aren’t at our emotion’s mercy. Our emotions don’t have to control us.
We have the resurrection power living within us to trample on reactions that spring from insecurities. You and I have the power to be kind and calm with difficult people, to love those who hate us, to bless those who curse us, to rise above deceiving feelings like jealousy and intimidation.
If we could just live with this awareness at our forefront, maybe we wouldn’t let our fear win. Maybe we wouldn’t let careless words about ourselves, our lives, others and God tumble out of our mouths in an effort to feel justified or heard. We always feel worse afterwards…and if we don’t, that’s a sign of a bigger problem…a hardened heart.
Have you ever imagined what it will be like in Heaven? I hear a lot about grace in church, which is beautiful, amazing and true. I hope you do too. But let’s not do ourselves the disservice of neglecting the whole person of Jesus. He gives us a glimpse of God:
“But I tell you that people will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36.
I don’t know about you, but this makes me tremble. It ignites that reverence for God that sometimes gets muddled with the lopsided rhetoric that His grace says:
“Oh it’s okay. You can do anything you want. I’m cool God just chillin’ up here. Don’t worry, no one’s perfect!”
No. God loves us too much for that lasseiz faire approach. We are made in His image and shown the way in which we are set apart to walk and talk. When we are careless with our words, it destroys our lives and others. Clearly, He cares about our lives which is why Jesus gave His.
I imagine that day in God’s office will be pretty long for me, giving an account of all my careless words. I really hope this conviction checks me before I say that unnecessary comment about a stranger, pass a judgment on someone, or condemn myself.
I pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
We may say things carelessly, but God cares. He is always listening.
Will the words you speak condemn you or acquit you?