Carelessness (Matthew 12:36)

Photo by Luca Onniboni on Unsplash

You can tell a lot about the worldview of a person by the way they talk. The   words they use when they speak, the way they put their thoughts together and what they speak for or against all point to how they interpret the world they inhabit in both body and mind. So when Jesus tells the Pharisees, “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken,” we learn something about Him. 

We read that sentence and know that He believed in a literal day of judgment. Moreover, He believed that what we say and how we say it will have a rather significant impact on what happens during that day of judgment! That’s not something to be overlooked. Jesus is God the Son. He knows what He is talking about – in fact, He is The Authority on such things!

To this very point Jesus testifies, “For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.” Jesus only said what he heard the Father say, and He only said it the way the Father told Him to say it. That wasn’t because Jesus didn’t have a mind of His own. It is because Jesus knew that the words He said and the way He said them were enormously impactful; Firstly because He was saying them in earshot of the Father (who hears all things and knows all things), so He would want to honor God who hears by the Words He said. Secondly because He was saying them before those made in the Father’s image. To say anything that would be unlike the Father to those made in His image would be disrespectful to the Father who made them. Thirdly because Jesus Himself was incarnate in human form, so what He says would and should be taken as reflective of the Father’s heart, for He bore the Father’s image. And finally because Jesus was mindful that what He said must not grieve the Spirit of God who lived within Him. 

Just as those things are true for Him, they are true for us. What we say is also in earshot of the Father. What we say we say to the benefit or hurt of those who hear them, who are made in His image. What we say is reflective of the one whose image we ourselves bear, and it either honors or grieves the Spirit of God who lives in us. So then, how very careful we should be with our words! Yet we have one more reason than Jesus did to be careful in what we say and how we say it; we will have to give account for what we say. 

Our careless words are the words we speak when unprompted. They are the unguarded words that spill out from our lips when we have dropped our filter. Though we often regret them or claim they are not true, they ironically are the words that most clearly display the true condition of our soul. So when you hear them coming out of your mouth, pay attention. If they do not reflect the Father, repent. If they do, rejoice. 

But do not let them out often, or they will be your undoing. Say what the Father tells you to say. Say it the way the Father tells you to say it. Let the Father be just as glorified in what we say as He is in what we do. 


Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.

Proverbs 21:23 from The Message Version

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Let your every word be one of kindness, grace, love, compassion and every fruit of the Spirit.