Research shows the average person speaks at least 7,000 words a day, with many speaking much more than that. And most of the time, we don’t think about the words that come out of our mouths. They are just part of our daily conversations. However, there are also those times in which we are reminded to choose our words carefully. Words can make a difference in others as well as ourselves. Words can heal and words can hurt. Words can build up and words can tear down. Words can bring hope as well as communicate despair. There is power in the spoken word.
The words we choose to use often reveal much about who we are. In Matthew 12:34 Jesus says, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” What Jesus meant is that often the words we choose to use are a good indicator of what our hearts look like. If we use words that are hateful, demeaning, judgmental, or just plain ugly, then they come forth from hearts that are the same. The words we speak often reveal our character.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to love Jesus with all our hearts. As a result, our relationship with Jesus should be the source of the words we choose. We can’t claim Jesus as Lord of our hearts while still spewing words that speak the opposite. The Apostle Paul would write, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29) Our words are called to give grace to others. Graceful words which seek to build others up, not tear them down. Words that lift people’s spirits, not drag them down. Words with affirm the worth of persons, and not degrades them. Graceful words demonstrate hearts that have surrendered to Jesus Christ. Thus, excusing the negativity that some people speak as “oh, that’s just the way they are” is not a valid excuse. This is especially true for those who follow Jesus.
Hence, in everything we speak we should ask ourselves, “would Jesus say it?” If we ask that question before we speak, then some of our words and conversations might look a lot different. I wish that I could confess that I have always chosen the words that would please my Lord. My sin still seems to control my tongue sometimes. Yet, every day I pray that my words may be acceptable to my Lord.
My words matter. Your words matter. The words we choose to use reveal something about where our hearts are. May we all be better at choosing our words, whether spoken or posted on social media. May our words be saturated with God’s grace so when we speak others experience this grace. There’s already enough garbage spoken in the world, let us commit to speak grace.