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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Taming the Tongue

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” 
Matthew 12:36

Have there been times in your life when you wish you could take back the words you just said?  I would have to answer YES, YES, YES to this question. Without realizing it, we often speak words that hurt, words that criticize, words that put others down, words that do not glorify God. Jesus tells us that we will have to give account for all of these careless words on Judgment Day.

Several states have had devastating fires this summer.  Forest fires can be started by a small spark. James likens our tongue, though it is a small body part, to a dangerous and devastating  forest  fire. Think of times when you have been hurt by the careless words of others. Think of how gossip can ruin one’s reputation. Many children grow up without hearing words of encouragement and praise. Therefore, they lack self-esteem in their adult lives.

We expect Jesus to condemn profanity and vile uses of the tongue. In today’s passage, He tells us that we will be judged for our careless words.  Careless words are things we say without concern for their impact on others. They are words that do nothing. They are vain and empty. They can be wicked and injurious. The sins of the tongue are not minor sins. God will not overlook them.

We should think carefully about the words that come out of our mouths. We should speak words that are pleasing to God and helpful to others. Our words, like our actions, should both demonstrate what it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.

Georgia Andrus

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