“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)

Our words have the power to heal or to destroy. Our choices in using them make a difference in people’s lives, and God will judge those choices when we stand before Him to give an account of our lives. On that day we cant say “Oh that’s not what I mean” or “She didn’t understand” or “I was just joking.”

In this warning, Jesus tells us that even our idle words will pass through the fires of judgment. We can understand that really important statements will receive God’s attention: defending a friend with courage, loving affirming our spouse at a critical moment of self-doubt. But even our most off-the-cut remarks undergo God’s scrutiny because they too have the power to heal or to destroy. A spontaneous word of praise can make someone’s day or a careless whisper of gossip can ruin a reputation.

The gravity of Jesus’ statement makes us stop short and ask “who this must be pretty important. What do I say that needs more attention?”

Words are the visible clothes that our invisible thoughts wear.