Matthew 12:33-37 (the words of Jesus)
“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 things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
An admission here. An admission of a fear-based spirit of judgment with which I am currently dealing. I read these words of Jesus and thought immediately (and I mean immediately) of our president-elect. Yes, I did. His words have undone me these past months, discouraged and frightened me, to tell you the truth.
But then. Well, but then . . . I had to admit that Jesus is not speaking these words to Donald Trump, all by his lonesome. Nope. Jesus is speaking these strong words to EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US, ME INCLUDED.
So then. What shall I do about that? Particularly during this season of Advent, this time of intentional waiting and watching. It’s that last line that is yanking my chain today — “I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words, you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Every careless word? Aw, come one, Jesus! Really?
Ouch. I don’t know about you, but I am immediately repentant for hundreds, no, thousands, of careless words over the course of my lifetime. Most of them, I will not remember, even if I try. But careless they were, and some of them hurtful, too. I think maybe now is as good a time as any to be more intentional about what I say, about what words I choose, about how those words might have an impact on people around me, about what my carelessness might do to someone else.
Lord, have mercy!