In Matthew 12:36-37 Jesus tells us: “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.”
And it got me thinking. Do my words honour God? Will they acquit or condemn me? If we thought about the implication of these verses more would it change what we said to people, or about people?
Maybe we just don’t think enough about the impact our words can have on those who hear them. In Proverbs 18 it states that:
Words give life;
They’re either poison or fruit.
You choose” (Message, v18)
From personal experience, I think the problem many of us face isn’t that our words are poison, it’s not that they are going to come back to condemn us. But that they’re not fruit either. That they don’t give life to those who hear them. That we aren’t using our words to build others up. That they aren’t showering people with the love of God through our words. And as a result all around us are people who are insecure. Who don’t hear enough that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, that they are beautiful as they are, and end up obsessed with getting the perfect figure. Who don’t hear reminders that God is with them, and then collapse in times of trouble.
And maybe we need to realize we have a bigger role to play in building people up, especially those who aren’t as mature as us in the faith. We need to use or words to give life. To offer hope to people. To offer encouragement and support. The impact a few kind words can have on someone’s day is incredible, yet how often do we offer up the words that can have this impact? To give a compliment costs us nothing, to receive one can mean the world.
The challenge is simple – will you use your words to build people up? Will you offer hope and life to people through your words?