36"But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
How many words do we speak in a day? Kinda depends on the circumstances, I guess. When I taught school, I'd come home some days unwilling to utter even a simple sentence like, "I'm unable to fathom the hopelessness of my task at hand!" I wonder what the average number is for the average American - 10,000/day?
What terrifies me is the realization that most of my words may be careless in nature. Of course, Jesus is probably referring to important situations where words will have impact, either positive or negative. "Honey, I'll get the mail" probably doesn't qualify. But we'd no doubt be surprised how often we can alter situations or relationships with our choice of words. I certainly am turned off by negative folks who spew negative words constantly. And how many of us have learned after the fact that something we said flippantly turned out to have stung someone to the core?
My greatest careless word problem has to do with constantly trying to be witty and to make people laugh. This probably means I have deep insecurity and feel the need to win acceptance through humor, as though I couldn't get it any other way. The problem is that I often cross the line by becoming sarcastic, trying to cast someone in an unfavorable light by putting them down...anything for a laugh, you know. It's high time I reined in this dangerous habit. As the verses in Matthew 12 say, there are consequences, eternal consequences.