Could it be that God is asking us to draw nearer to Him and let Him change our hearts?
Words matter. We are told that over and over again. Scripture addresses this in James 3. In fact, James gives us some pretty bold declarations about our words…
“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue, we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
Clearly, James wants us to understand that our words indeed do matter. I doubt we would challenge the suggestion that our words can make or break someone’s day, week, month, or life. Have you ever been having “one of those days” when you run into someone, and they say just the thing you need to hear to give you a better perspective? Or perhaps just the opposite…maybe someone has said one little sentence that caused you to spiral into a dark place.
I would like to suggest to you that it’s not just our words that matter, but also the demeanor with which we speak them. Luke 6:45 tells us “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” If we say the right words but our heart is full of a contradictory attitude, that will either be seen immediately or come out eventually.
Maybe speaking the right words is not what God is calling us to do. I’m not saying to not filter what you say or be hurtful if that’s what’s in your heart, but could it be that God is asking us to draw nearer to Him and let Him change our hearts, so that when “our mouths speak what our hearts are full of,” we speak the words that people need to hear?