Matthew 12:35-37 (NLT)
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.
Lord, help me. No seriously, when I think of all the words that I use in a single day, I am greatly concerned. It took years to develop a filter. There are still days that the bridle on my jaw breaks or loosens. When I see the contents of my heart come pouring out, I am appalled. That’s what idles words and meaningless chatter really are. The dust bunnies hidden in our heart like the ones that creep in the corners under the bed. A good person produces good things from a good heart. I want to be her. All of the time in every season whether I agree or disagree, I want my words to reflect love, mercy and goodness which is not always the case.
A while back, I decided to make “breakfast dinner” for my family. There were eggs in the fridge, bacon in the freezer, fresh loaf of bread on the counter and grits in the pantry. All the makings of a fine southern breakfast so I began cooking. When I opened the grits and began pouring them into the pan, I was quite disgusted to find little bugs making their home in the box. (Insert shudder here.) It ruined the meal for me. It didn’t matter that the eggs turned out sunny side up, the bacon perfectly crisp and the toast lightly browned with melted butter. The little ants in my grits ruined it for me. Tying the box in a plastic bag, I took it outside garbage. I went through every box in the pantry throwing away anything that was open or could have been exposed. I hate bugs. I don’t want them in my house let alone in my food or on my table. What if we felt the same way about our daily communication?
What if we inspected every single word for freshness? What if we made sure that they were good and wholesome for others to “eat”? What if we removed all the contaminants before we used them? Lord, I am talking to me. The Word of God is clear. God shoots from the hip and doesn’t mix His Words when Jesus reminds us that we will one day be judged for “every idle word” that we speak. Not the ones carefully thought about, tasted before used and delivered in love. No, the ones when no one else is around to listen. The ones used amongst close friends. Maybe we were only joking, come on the Lord knows our heart. I have tried over and over again to drive it home to my children that if our words offend, hurt or at the expense of another – we must keep them from ever leaving our mouth. Lord, help me to inspect my words today.
James 3:3-6 (NLT)
We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
As I crawl back to the Book of James, it is to remind myself of the power of my tongue. During the hours proceeding the Cross, Jesus was cross-examined by the High Priest, but He didn’t feel the need to defend Himself or argue His Case. He simply was silent. I wish I could learn to do the same when I am aggravated, agitated, and unhappy or just a little bit cross. I want my opinion to be a reflection of what God says about people and situations not what my judgmental heart has determined to be so. If only I could keep control of my tongue like a bridle on a horse or a rudder on a ship, it is important that I do to accomplish God’s Will for my life. Love must be evident in ALL my conversations.
The most telling verse for me in this passage is “a tiny spark can set a great forest fire.” Oh Lord help me to remember this when “tiny sparks” are made with my tongue. You came to set this world on fire. Passionate about your love with hearts burning and consumed for You, I want my words to spark revival not resentment. I want them to be way makers not blockers. There are many words I wish I could take back in my life and some left unspoken. Lord, motivate my conversation and use it to build your Kingdom and not destroy it in my ignorance today. I wouldn’t build a fire in the middle of my living room floor but oh the fires started in the midst of conversation that has gone wrong with a careless word or idle gossip. God, help me to keep my home safe from such destruction.
James 3:10-12 (NLT)
And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
I have sown seeds in my life waiting for harvest. I will one day reap from what I have sown. I am of the firm belief that when salty water or acidic talk pours from my mouth that it will indeed kill the crop of love that I have been planting. I repent today Lord for every one of those words that is killing my harvest. The ones spoken in idle conversation that once released became a raging fire out of control. Lord, remove such conversation from my thoughts and mind so it will never make it to my heart and out of my mouth again.
Psalm 15:1-3 (NLT)
Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends.
Man, this is a rough one today. Who may worship in the sanctuary of the Lord? This is not talking about the church you attend or small group you are a part of but the Presence of the Lord in which we find our refuge each day. Those who live blameless lives. I try to do the right thing, obey the law of the land, do what God says, love other people, and give and so on. But what does He say, “Those who do what is right “SPEAKING THE TRUTH FROM SINCERE HEARTS and THOSE WHO REFUSE TO GOSSIP OR HARM THEIR NEIGHBORS OR SPEAK EVIL OF THEIR FRIENDS.” All caps for me, people. Sometimes we gossip unintentionally, speak evil of others unknowingly, but that does not excuse our behalf. Though the words were idle at the time they were issued, they became a spark for the enemies use at some point upon release. We must learn to catch those little sparks before they make it out into the world. I want to live in the Presence of God. I want Him to want to be near me. I want His Love to surround me and filter through me to others. My conversation will impacts the outcome.
Luke 24:14-18 (NLT)
As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”
We were at the mall exercising retail therapy last weekend, when one of our kid’s youth pastors showed up. He came out of nowhere and hung with us for the rest of the day. My friend and I continued to shop the great sales we had discovered while the kids shopped, joked and took selfies with each other. We continued about our business with him in tow. It was comfortable. It was not odd and he was not out of place. What if Jesus showed up like he did?
Two men were walking down the road discussing the events of the day. Jesus was crucified. Some now say that He rose again, Jesus joined them but they did not know it was Him. When Jesus asked what they were taking about, the men replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that happened…” Now freeze frame, nobody move. This is where so many of us fall each and every day. We do not consider the Presence of God or the Holy Spirit in our daily conversation. We do not inspect our words but rather deliver them impulsively. I have sat in administration meetings with my superiors who have openly apologized for foul words or inappropriate conversation because they know I am a Believer. This is not a “go-me” but rather me reminding me that I must not use words or enter in conversations that are offensive to God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit if I want them to stay close each day. I have engaged in conversations that did not reflect that I am a believer, too. It may not have been my intent but it definitely was the outcome.
Philippians 4:7-9 (NLT)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Constant illicit communication or inappropriate conversation that continually brings about forest fires in our life is a heart problem. To fix our words, we must fix our thoughts. Our thoughts are a product of the heart. When we are given to slander, backbiting and gossip, there is something in us that must change in order to make room for the Lord to take up residence. I am guilty just like the next person maybe more so because I use so many words in a single day. I want my words to be true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. My grandmother was that kind of person. When I attended her funeral, people went on and on about how she never had a bad word to say about anyone. I want it to be like that when I am gone, but there must be a continued change. Some people may say that she was not always like that and this is probably true. But when she went to Heaven, she had grown in her relationship with Jesus to such a point that her words were impacted. Be it unto me, Lord!
You know there is a nationwide debate about gun control. I am not going to climb on a soapbox or give an opinion other than this. They say, “Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you.” Let me add this, “Liar, liar pants on fire.” Words can be lethal – to people, our life, blessings and relationship with Jesus Christ. You would not hand a loaded hunting rifle to a toddler, now would you? But as he grew into a young man and adult, you would train him and teach him gun safety, respect for the firearm and damage it might do if mishandled or misused. There are still evil people who grow up this way and kill people with hunting rifles. It is not a problem with the weapon but the heart of the people. Our words are loaded weapons. They will bring down strongholds or build walls keeping others from Christ which leads to death. I cannot take a single word I speak today for granted. It has the power to bind or loose the Kingdom. (Matthew 18:18) I decide the intent. The very next verse in Matthew 18 reveals another powerful truth… ”If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.”
Proverbs 26:18-20 (NLT)
Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.” Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
When I read this verse today, I was completely taken back. God is disarming me today. He is reminding me that my words count for His Kingdom or against it. Will I be one who draws people to Him or a sniper taking them out with my idle conversation? Lord, I repent for all the words that started out right and turned foul in the air. Those things that should not have been a topic of conversation considering all the great things You have done for me. I have plenty to boast about in You. I am secure in my place in the Kingdom of God and have no need to tear another person down or bring up their mistakes. I am a Child of God. I have a purpose. I am to share the Love of Jesus with everyone because You are standing by my side. You are in front of me. You are behind me. Your Love surrounds me. Make me aware of Your Presence. Forgive me for the things that I have said without thinking and come close again! May every word rather intentional or idle be a reflection of your Great Love! I will inspect my conversation today. Is it kind, loving and true? I will make sure that it is not meant for evil but wrapped tightly in Your Goodness? May my words water my field and harvest rather than causing rot and decay! To You I give all honor, glory and power to make it so today!
2 Timothy 2:15-16 (NLT)
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.