Teasing and name-calling are often part of childhood. I remember that the socially correct response of my childhood, when being verbally persecuted, was to chant, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” Unfortunately, that response just never did provide much satisfaction, and physical violence often ensued. Even as children, we understand that words do hurt. Unlike a physical injury, which soon heals and is forgotten, an injury from words may be felt for years, or even a lifetime. What we say can drastically impact someone’s life.
The Lord Jesus recognized the importance of our spoken words. In Matthew 12:36, Jesus said, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” We speak a lot of idle words and, too often, neglect to say the words that we ought to speak. Personally, I believe that the most important words anyone can speak or hear are the words of the gospel: that God loves us and Jesus died for our sins. Our sins can be forgiven, and we can receive eternal life. These are not idle words!
Jesus taught that judgment day is coming, and that every person is accountable to the Sovereign, Creator God. In other words, each one of us will answer to God, not just for the major decisions of life, but for ever.
By Pastor Dennis Reed,
First Southern Baptist Church