I believe strongly in the power of words. I am naturally a very chatty person. It seems to me that I probably speak more words than the average person. I love to write, and reading books is one of my greatest pleasures in life. My favorite way to receive affection is through words. So yes, you could say I hold words in high esteem.
There is truth in the phrase, “actions speak louder than words.” But words still carry a great deal of weight whether we like it or not. They have the ability to harm and the ability to heal. Words can take us on an adventure to a land far away while we are still relaxing at home on the sofa. When loved ones pass away, we often dwell on the final words we speak to them. In intimate relationships, we never forget the first time our partner said the words, “I love you.” Words can restore families, bring hope, and help change a life. Words carry immense power.
Jesus knew this better than anyone. In Matthew 12:34-35, He said,
“For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”
Jesus’ statement reminds us that the words we speak are an overflow of the condition of our heart. I don’t know about you, but that hits me at the core of who I am. In reading those words, I am automatically challenged to think about the words I spoke to the people around me today.
Did my heart reveal God’s love as I snapped at my husband when he did something irritating? Did it reveal compassion as I spoke harshly about my friend to another? Did it reveal forgiveness as I yelled at my child for making a mess after I had just cleaned?
Before we speak, let’s take the time to think about the words we’re going to say. Let’s choose words that bring life, not pain or condemnation. Jesus reminds us, in these verses, that an easy fix to speaking wisely is just choosing to focus on allowing God to work on our hearts. In praying, reading His Word, and choosing to see people the way He sees them, we’re allowing Jesus to shape our hearts to be more like His. And when our hearts are in the right place, we can be certain our words will also come out right.