Is there such a thing as a meaningless word? Words like “emergency” or “stop” or “winner” demand much more attention than words like “asparagus” or “follicle.”
But the word “asparagus” could answer the question, “Which of the items on this plate is laced with rat poison?” That gives is much more meaning. There is no such thing as a meaningless word.
Wrong words hurt others. Sarcasm. Harsh criticism. Gossip. Angry arguing. The wrong words don’t just hurt others, however, they hurt us who speak them. We are polluted by our own pollution and poisoned by our own poison.
Jesus said “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34).To change how you speak, Jesus doesn’t give you speech lessons or stick a big piece of duct tape over your mouth and on it he writes, “Danger. Listen at your own risk.”
No, Jesus changes your heart. He fills it with his grace and righteousness and words of love.
Here’s how he did that. 1 Peter 2:23,24 talks about the enemies of Jesus torturing and crucifying him: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’”
You don’t have the power to take your back your wrong words. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have the power on your own to change how you speak. “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).
But Jesus has the power to heal you. And these words say that he already has. You’re not sick with sin. You’re not guilty with shame. You are completely forgiven, even if the person you hurt with your words doesn’t think so. God thinks so.
Because Jesus has forgiven your sin and changed your heart, you already know God’s language. Like Texans can detect a Wisconsin accent that gives away a person’s identity, people will be able to tell that your identity is found in Jesus, that you love him and his words.
And your tongue will be an instrument of good. There are no meaningless words.
PRAYER:Dear Jesus, how did you stay silent while people mocked you? How did everything you spoke come from a heart of love? Heal and teach me with your words, so that I speak like you to others. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION:Use the PRAY acronym in this unique way:
- Praise(tell God one word that expresses something you appreciate about him today)
- Repent(tell God one word that describes how you feel about your sins and his promises of forgiveness today)
- Ask(ask God in one word what you need most today)
- Yield(describe to God in one word what you want to give to him today so that his power and blessing direct it more than you can)