This morning I emptied the dishwasher very quickly. Unexpected tasks had caused me to get a later start on the day than I had intended. While hurriedly gathering the coffee cups from the bottom rack, I dangled each one from a different finger on my left hand. I then grabbed the blender we had used for breakfast in my right. I was planning next to add the coffee carafe to my load (however, where I am not sure), because all of the items went into the same cupboard over our coffee pot. Until, that is, an image of the carafe shattering onto the floor came into my mind. I might have stubbornly tried to grab it anyway, but I remembered some words spoken to me many years ago.
While attending college as an adult, I was hurrying through the hallways with a stack of books loaded on my arms. They were piled precariously until their balance reached the tipping point and they tumbled to the floor. A professor behind me was walking toward the nearby door. As I scrambled to pick the books up again I heard him say without missing a step, “That’s what you get for being so lazy”. As I finished restacking my load I realized he was right. It would have been better to make two trips.
Those simple words, spoken by a stranger, have stayed with me every since they were spoken. What power there is in our tongue! For good or for evil. Even words casually spoken can have a huge impact on the one who speaks them, or on the one who hears what was said. Words are so very important that one day we will be accountable to Jesus for every single one that comes out of our mouths. The ability to speak is both an awesome responsibility and an amazing privilege.
Now, if I may ask?
What is the last thing you said about yourself? Your husband? Your wife? A family member? Your friend or an acquaintance at work? The checker at the grocery counter? The computer expert from another country at the other end of the phone line? Did it bring forth life or death?
It is never too late to determine to set a watch over our tongue. May The Lord help us to speak words that are pleasing to Him. May we not be embarrassed by what we have said when one day we stand before Him.
Matthew 12:36-37 (KJV)
36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Colossians 4:6 (KJV)
6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Proverbs 15:28 (KJV)
The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.
Psalm 141:3 (KJV)
Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.