Accounting for Every Careless Word

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Prov. 29:11
Full Text: Prov. 29; 2 Thess. 3
Photo of the Day: #TPFperspective

Words | When I come across passages in the Bible about the importance of taming the tongue, I’m tempted to avoid writing about them because I feel woefully inadequate. Yes, words have always been an important part of my life – I learned their power when I was a disobedient kid who had to give accounts to my father the lawyer, their interpretation when I studied Spanish in college, and their persuasion when I worked in communications at the State Department and the NYSE. I love words because they set us apart as human beings. They help us communicate with each other, which – in turn – helps us to know and love one another.

Tame | Yet I feel inadequate to discuss the taming of the tongue because I know I have so far to go. Proverbs warns about using our tongue to vent: “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back” [1], and Jesus warns about being accountable for our words: “I tell you, on the day of judgment, people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” [2]. To be mature Christians, we must learn to bridle our tongues. James writes, “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so” [3].

Prayer | Lord, Thank you for giving us words to help us talk with you and others. Also, thank you for using words – letters, testimonies, psalms, histories – to help us understand your love for us as displayed on the cross. Yet we confess that we oftentimes use words carelessly, venting about our circumstances rather than being wise and holding back. Knowing that we do not have the ability to tame our own tongues, we beg you to help us set watch over our mouths. Help us be quick to listen and slow to speak. Give us wisdom to use our tongues to glorify you and encourage one another – even when sometimes that may mean that we speak words of restoration when we see others wander. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Prov. 29:11 ESV  |  [2] Matthew 12:34-37 ESV  |  [3] James 3:8-10 ESV

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2 Comments to “Accounting for Every Careless Word”

  1. Thank you for a much needed reminder.

  2. You’re not kidding! I too often say, “Thanks for just letting me ‘vent’,” or “I just needed to ‘vent.'” Yes, it’s good to be honest with my frustrations, but usually my goal in those conversations is not to edify or restore the listener; it’s usually to make me look good and to make the person I’m venting about look bad – a person made in the image of God (Matt. 12). How much more I have to grow in bridling my tongue!

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