In a say-what’s-on-your-mind culture, words get flung around, overlooked and trampled like a penny on the ground. Does this mean that our words are becoming obsolete like the penny?
Some people seem to talk just to hear the sound of their own voices. Some talk to draw attention to themselves, good or bad. Others talk in an attempt to prove intelligence, and still others talk as if searching for their own value.
For certain, the more words spoken, the less words heard. At least, the more I talk, the less my kids listen and the more they seem to grow distant. The value of words seems to decrease the more words spoken.
If the value of words is declining, why bother?
That’s right, EVERY word. Not some. ALL OF THEM. Every lazy, thoughtless, pointless word. Every emotionally-wrought word. Every utterance coming out of our mouths. That’s why we bother with considering our words carefully.
Jesus also adds this statement about the impact personally of our words.
Perhaps Jesus’ words here are why James says,
Not only do the words we speak as well as how and when we speak them either strengthen or damage relationships, they also determine the status of our lives after we die. Yes, Jesus is ultimately referring to our words about Him, but doesn’t every aspect of ourselves reflect on our relationship with Him? Our words tell of the state of our inner lives, our hearts, and it is this condition with which God is most concerned.
A blog friend and regular commenter on this site expresses the idea this way:
Knowing that my words convict or justify me, that they define my character, and that I will be held accountable for every single one of them, motivates me to constantly use caution with my words as well as to continually improve their value. But then I read James 3 and feel defeated, just one verse of it actually.
Does this mean my efforts to guard my words are useless? Am I in a battle I cannot win? As long as I seek to fight it under my own power, yes it does and yes I am. Fortunately, God is in the business of making the impossible happen (Matthew 19:26).
In fact, His Word says a tremendous amount about tongue taming, which indicates its importance, and much of that instruction revolves around a few key points to help us obtain that goal. We’ll look at those instructions next time when we close out our detailed look at words.
DISCUSSION: How do you feel about the impossibility of ever taming your tongue?