What is the impact of my speech?
I don’t like to get in trouble. I do get in trouble even though I don’t like it. Usually it is something I’ve said more than something I’ve done. God’s goal for me is to keep my soul from troubles.
There is some great news. Jesus gives me the pathway to have the fruit of the spirit of self-control. It is growing in me. That is something to shout about.
James warns us about the danger. What we say can ignite a fire. I have seen it. It isn’t pretty.
The cynical remark. The snarky response. The evil intent. Yikes. What a mess we can create.
Our speech has an enormous influence for good or ill and is a sure guide to our character. The power of what we say is indisputable. Consider the billions spent on therapy because of what others said about us when we were young. Jesus can fix that.
What we say to others matters. What Jesus says to us matters most!
What our speech produces has eternal implications, for it reveals what is in our hearts. Jesus said that “the good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him” (Matthew 12:35).
Isaiah places words on par with actions for displaying a sinful heart (Isaiah 59:2-3). “Men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36).
In and of ourselves, we are utterly unable to “tame the tongue” because “it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). James is clear here. We need to take this seriously because we do have a problem.
When I was in high school, one night after dinner, my father said to me “are you aware that you used the word ” ___ ” 72 times during this meal?” YIKES, WOW and NO! I had no idea that I had said THAT word so frequently! Today, I could not even tell you exactly what THAT word was, however, I think it might have been “so …”. I had a tendency to drop it out there, say it and then, let it slide off into nothingness! I had no great revelation or brilliant statement to follow up with … just “so …”. Can’t you just hear the edgy tone!