Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wasted Words

God has been pretty clear on an issue that I have missed entirely until this week.

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:26-27)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Exodus 20:7)

God is pretty clear, that it is much more than insults that bother him, but wasted speech. The passage from Matthew indicates that we will be judged by much more than how many times we skipped church. We will have to give account for every careless word? But I never cussed in front of my parents! Doesn't that count for something?

In fact, we aren't even to say something unless it is "helpful for building others up". We spend so much effort trying to avoid the bad words, that the wasted words don't seem so bad. However, if we focused more on using beneficial speech, we would cut down on our waste and hopefully eliminate the bad altogether.

Of course, if wasted speech is worthy of judgment, then using God's name (i.e. reputation, status) in a meaningless or misused manner is an especially high offense--worthy of being the third of ten commandments. Some traditions are even afraid to write his name out in case they have to erase it later. What incredible honor is implied by such a practice!

What would happen if we focused on beneficial speech instead of avoiding a list of 20ish offensive words?

What would happen if we only used God's name when the highest reverence was applied?


  1. Anonymous10:14 PM

    Thanks Michael, I really enjoyed this, it's something I've thought of before, just never in that kind of depth. Very convicting and challenging!!

  2. Anonymous2:56 AM

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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