“For by your words you will be justified,
and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37).
Okay, let me preface this by reminding you that I didn’t say this, Jesus did. And that puts the statement in serious perspective, doesn’t it?
When we were kids we often heard/proclaimed the singsong taunt, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But it wasn’t true, was it? Our words do hurt. They sting, they wound, they injure. And Jesus said we would be held accountable for them.
“I just tell it like it is” is a common excuse for blasting someone with both barrels, but would we be so quick to fire away if we first remembered that those very words would be brought into account when we stand before God one day? And why bring this subject up at Christmas, anyway?
For the very reason that it is Christmas, that’s why. The One who spoke those words while He walked this earth first came as a Baby, humble yet royal, to show us how to live—and then to die in our place. Though the majority of people will ultimately reject that priceless gift, those of us who accept it have no excuse for cutting people down with our words. Ephesians 4:15 admonishes us to speak the truth “in love” so that we “may grow up in all things into Him.” Mature believers seek God’s help to restrain their lips from speaking hurt and injury to others just to satisfy their own selfishness, and instead to speak truth in love, with the purpose being to bring life and healing and reconciliation.
As we go about our many busy activities this Christmas season, may we remember the words of the One whose birthday we celebrate and weigh our words before we speak them. There is enough negativity being proclaimed by those who don’t know Christ; let’s counter that by speaking love and life and joy to ears and hearts that so desperately need to hear them.