Reading in Matthew this week with my husband for our devotions I found a statement by Jesus that made me really stop and think about what I say.
But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken….New International Version.
Other translations speak of idle words, careless words.
The Greek phrase used here means “careless or inactive or unprofitable words.”
I tried to research how many words the average person speaks per day but there are all kinds of conflicting studies on this subject. It is clear from all of them that most of us do speak thousands of words a day. There are studies that indicate women talk more than men (at least we are accused of that) but other studies say that is just a myth. (For all the women who, like me, are often waiting on their husbands who keep talking and talking, we know that is a myth.)
But of those thousands of words I may speak each day, I wonder how many are really helpful to others.
Taking a closer look at my speaking, I ask myself:
- How often do I truly listen to others speaking to me?
- How often do I resist the temptation to jump in and offer my opinion when it is not really needed?
- How often do I wait until the person is done speaking before I respond?
- How often do I “think before I speak” or do I just blurt out whatever comes to mind without engaging my brain first?
- Are my words always kind?
When I read the rest of what Jesus said that day on speaking, it makes me want to be more careful when speaking.
“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
How about you? Do you think before you speak?