"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak."
Have you ever seen that verse? I know I have read it before because I have read the whole of the Bible and that is in Matthew 12:36, but I have never read it in the way I did today. My children and I did a study this morning on the tongue because their mother had an issue keeping hers in check. The words we read today were hard and brought many tears.
"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matt. 12:33-34)
Out of the abundance of my heart my mouth speaks. What is in my heart if I have spoken something sinful? A fellow blogger has a "campaign" of sorts to root out gossip in the church. Gossip is probaby spoken more by women than by men. I have no real proof of that, but I would wager a good guess that it is so. I know that I have been guilty of it more often than I care to remember and it is almost always with another women. I don't share what I share with you to accuse you, but to encourage you to keep your tongues too.
This morning, by not bridling my own tongue I hurt a dear and precious friend. I repented of this sin, but it grieves me still. I share this with you so that you too may be thoughtful because I think it is so easy to open our mouths when we should be silent. Even when we think we are justified - are we honoring the person we are speaking of? Would we speak this way to their face?
"There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (Prov. 12:18)
The scripture has so much to tell us - to warn us really - about the tongue. James is especially potent:
"Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!" (James 3:4-5)
Ladies, it was a painful lesson to teach my children this morning. It was hard to sit and admit my ugliness to them, to encourage them to keep their tongues pure and their hearts guarded, but the times of refreshing in God's word - even after reading these scriptures that cut the heart - was true and beautiful to me. I don't know what my children will take away from the lesson this morning. I don't know what they will have learned, but I have learned a hard lesson today. I praise my Savior for His kindness to me. I praise Him for His forgiveness when I don't deserve it. I praise Him for His longsuffering over me. I praise Him for the ability to be humbled. I pray that I will remember that it was Jesus who said, "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak."