Why do I suddenly feel the need to cover up? And when I say “cover up” I mean head-to-toe cover up. I wouldn’t mind adding a second layer, and a cap, and a pair of tall boots.
Maybe that’s because there would be many words I wouldn’t want anyone to read.
Words that spew out in anger at people who least deserve it.
Words that I add for shock effect just to see the reaction and bring attention to myself
Or what about that one extra thought that crossed the line the minute it came out of my mouth,
but I said it anyway.
Not to try to make anyone feel worse, but the words we speak are just as obvious to God as if they were written on our skin.
And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by our words you shall be condemned.” (Matt. 12:36).
I’m going to have to give an account for every word I speak (or write for that matter). It says in this scripture that I’m going to be justified or condemned by my words, so it seems to be saying that God judges our salvation based solely on what we say. It seems to support a works mentality, a doctrine that says that our salvation is based on what we do or don’t do.
However, if you read over both the Old and the New Testament, you’ll see a consistent message that we are saved by grace through faith. (Eph. 2:8, John 3:16, 2 Corin. 5:21, Romans 3:28, Psalm 32:1-2). Therefore, we cannot be saved or condemned on the basis of our deeds or words; instead, they are evidence of salvation.
Words (and deeds) are not a means to an end, (salvation), but a manifestation of our spiritual condition, an accurate gauge of what’s in the heart. What’s more, no matter how hard we try, they will give us away:
But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh. (James 3:8-12)
When we are full of our angry, mean selves, it comes out, but this passage isn’t just talking about words spoken in passion. The Greek transliteration for the word “careless” is “Argos”, meaning “useless, barren, unproductive, inappropriate.” 1 It also refers simply to words that reflect the idleness and the pride of life.
Lord knows there’s plenty of that. It reminds me of a phrase my dad used to use when we were kids. He would say “Callam fodi”, which is literally translated from Arabic to mean “Empty words”. It was no surprise that we would hear that phrase almost any time the TV was on because of all of its useless, wasteful material. A question to ask ourselves: how much of it are we pumping into our hearts and minds on a daily basis?
Thank God that although our words are exposed to Him, He offers His righteousness as the best cover-up to those who believe in Him. Better than a cover-up. They are washed away.
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
What were your conversations about today? Can you say that they were life-giving and encouraging or useless and wasteful, even angry?
Why do you suppose it’s so hard to tame the tongue?
1) The McArthur New Testament Commentary, Matthew 8 – 15, P. 319