“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words will be condemned” Matthew 12:37
Jesus gives a firm warning about the power of our words. He is addressing the Pharisees who, in their evil opposition to the Kingdom, are now trying to discredit Jesus and claim He is only able to do what He does because of demonic powers. But it is a warning that is just as applicable to us today as Kingdom people.
Jesus tells us that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). What He is saying here is that our words flow from our heart. Our words give insight into what is going on in our heart. They reveal our true character. What we say, and what we don’t say, is incredibly important and revealing.
Only God can see our heart, but through our words we can give a pretty solid indication to those around us of the condition of our heart. When we claim to be Kingdom citizens those who are outside the Kingdom tend to scrutinize us. If what we say doesn’t match up with how we live they will notice. If we profess faith in Jesus, the King of love, mercy and grace but all they hear in our words are hate, anger, judgement and pride they will want nothing to do with the Kingdom.
There is great power in our words. Power to build up, and power to knock down. Power to bring hope, and power to crush it. Power to give life, and power to give death. What we say matters. Jesus warns us that “on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” Matthew 12:36-37.
There is no such things as ‘just banter’. There words “No offence but…” do not enable us to say what we want consequence free. Jesus warns us that we will be called to account for every careless word we allow out of our lips. We will be called to account for every word that we use to hurt someone. Every word we use to exclude someone unjustly. Every word we use to destroy. Every word we use with malicious intent. For such words have no place in the Kingdom.
We are called to be trees that bear good fruit for the Kingdom. Becoming a good tree is something that happens when Jesus restores our heart as we encounter Him and enter through the narrow gate into the Kingdom. And from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. If the words we speak are not good life bringing words but evil, angry, offensive, crushing words then we have to wonder if we have actually had a Kingdom life giving encounter with Jesus or if we are just deceiving ourselves. For by our words it is clear what the state of our heart is, and if our heart is not right with God then we are not yet Kingdom citizens, and we need to humbly come to the narrow gate where we can be made new and washed white as snow through the life giving blood of Jesus.
Our words should be used to speak of the joy of life in the Kingdom. They should declare for all to hear the many wondrous things God has done for us. We should be speaking words of encouragement, words of hope, words of peace – words that reflect the love the Father has lavished upon us. There is great power in our words, and with that power comes the responsibility to ensure that what we say are words that will justify us rather than condemn us and which inspire others to seek out the Kingdom life.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Proverbs 18:21
- Think over what you have said in the past 24 hours- would it justify or condemn you?
- What does what you say reveal about the state of your heart?
- Are you a person who speaks encouragement or discouragement? Why?