I was a juror in a civil case many years ago. A woman was suing the family of a teenage driver in a traffic accident for damages. I have forgotten many of the details, but I will never forget one moment in the trial.
The woman was in the witness stand and the opposing lawyer was trying to get her to admit to driving too fast by the distance she skidded after braking. She tried to be illusive, but he tied the poor lady in several interrogation knots until she finally blurted out, “104 feet”. They lost the case—the truth was out; her husband had measured the skid marks and she was travelling too fast. Words matter.
Words are like an outflow from our brain and an overflow from our hearts. In our most unguarded moments, we blurt out our true feelings or reveal a hidden truth. In our guarded moments, we hold our tongue so not to cause others embarrassment or perhaps to protect ourselves from embarrassment. Words matter.
In our divided political world, it is crazy how words are used. Politicians and the media on both sides are masters of scripted narratives and slight of hand usage of language. Their silence in one situation is then a feigned outrage in another, with both situations being similar in nature but different only in the “home court” narrative. True justice is calling it like it is, not as one wants it to be. Words matter.
If you must lie to corroborate your point of view, you need to get a better point of view! Words matter.
In the Bible, when Moses set up judges under him to hear the disputes among the people, he told them to judge righteously (exercise true justice), “Then I commanded your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him. / You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it’” (Deuteronomy 1:16-17 NKJV).
So, a warning to all of us. Words matter. Words can be healing or hurtful. Their affect can be divisive or unifying. Our actions will reveal the integrity of our words. Our true motivations and actions will reveal if we are a liar or truth-teller. Words matter.
Truth and lies have one thing in common. If either are often repeated, they will eventually be believed. Truth and lies are also diametrically opposite. Truth believed will set you free but a lie that is believed will bring one into bondage. What are you repeating and what are you believing? Words matter.
Often words are like seeds; it may take a while to see if they are wheat or tares. The fruit will reveal the seed. Liars and truth-tellers all must come before the one true God of truth and justice. You may fool many people for a lifetime, but you will not fool God. Words matter.
Jesus talked a great deal about words. He told us that words matter and that we will give an account to God for our words.
Here is a just a sampling of His words in Matthew 12:35-37 (NKJV),
(35) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
(36) But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
(37) For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
As we sometimes say, “Watch your mouth!” Whether we heed the warning or not, be sure that God is watching our mouth and He will hold us accountable for the words we speak! Words matter!
Yours on the Journey,
Harry L. Whitt