Daily Devotion | Day 280
“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37, NKJV).
Human beings are unique among God’s creation. Part of our uniqueness is that we are creatures of speech. We possess the ability to form words and create language out of these words. Our words are the expression of our inner self. You are your words. That is, by your words you reveal who you are. In the spiritual realm there is no such thing as ‘meaningless’ words. Every word from your mouth has consequences even if you don’t intend there to be consequences. Therefore, words are not neutral. To borrow a term from the world of electricity, words carry a charge. They carry a positive charge or a negative charge.
The point is, in the spiritual realm words carry consequences. Intention is important, but it is not required. What matters is that you are speaking and you mean to speak. We’ve been miseducated about words. This explains why people say things and assume that their words are ‘nothing.’ It also explains why people say a lot of things followed by, “I was just joking;” “I was kidding.”
You may have noticed a pattern in the Bible, the book God has given for your instruction. You will find all kinds of stories in the Bible. One thing you will not find is a line intended to be a joke. Take every man of God in the Bible. Take Jesus and the Apostles. Jesus didn’t say one thing He meant as a joke. This doesn’t mean He was not an interesting Person. On the contrary, He was very charismatic. But people were attracted to Him, not because He was a comedian, but because of His authority (Matthew 7:28-29). You don’t need to crack jokes to be an interesting person. What you need is magnetic authority through purity of life.
Pay attention to what Jesus is saying in today’s opening Scripture passage. According to Him, on judgment day people will give account of every idle word they’ve spoken. By “idle word,” He means a word that in of itself is useless. He didn’t say people will give account of some idle words. No, He says “every idle word.” If your words didn’t matter, you wouldn’t be required to give an account of them. If your words didn’t carry any consequences, there would be no need for judgment.
Your words shape your destiny.
After saying this, Jesus adds another statement. He says, “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Your words can cause you to be justified or condemned. This means your words influence your destiny. Through your words you have a say in your destiny. You can use your words to your advantage or you can use them to your disadvantage. Jesus has done His part by teaching you the truth about words. What you do with His teaching is up to you. The choice is yours.
But I encourage you to choose life. Speak wholesome words for your own sake. Use your tongue to your advantage. A well-trained tongue is a well-trained soul. And, a well-trained soul is a healthy soul.
Blessing: May the favor of God be your shield in all your ways. Amen.
For further study: Luke 19:20-23; Ephesians 4:17-32; 5:1-21