“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” This childish taunt we used to say while playing with others in our childhood games is a huge lie. Words do hurt, maim and destroy a person’s core being if they do not have help to overcome mean words said idly as “trash talk” in a game or said in mocking each other. Words can be as abusive as physical harm. If you have ever been spiritually abused inside the church by people who wanted you to be more like them to be accepted then you are probably still feeling the pain from that experience. Jesus knows what you are feeling.
Harmful words escalate in powerful ways as we get older. Driven by fear of loss of power, job, status or position in the family or workplace, a heartless individual driven only by this fear will lash out with words that can bring another person to their knees. If you stop to think about it, there are probably a few phrases or words said to you that you have never forgotten. You may have forgiven the person for saying them, but what was said is still embedded in your memory bank. Words, good and bad, affect how we treat others. Wounds left by hurtful words drive how we respond in certain circumstances. Jesus knows and understands.
Jesus says our words come directly from our heart. Matthew, the former tax collector, calls it the “treasury of our hearts”. Jesus makes a serious statement concerning the account we store in our heart’s treasury that produces what we say.
The Pharisees were on the attack with their words from impure hearts that rejected Jesus and all that He did. They refused to accept him as Messiah and accused Him of being directly opposed to God. We see their foolishness of opposing God in flesh as not being God at all, but we know the whole story. To call Jesus the “Prince of Demons” was a slap in the face of God Himself! Jesus made them see that these words flowed from their hearts of fear, pride, selfishness, afraid of losing their position in the religious structure—all the “fruits” of heart treasuries filled with evil.
PAUSE TO PRAY
We can be disgusted with the Pharisees who could not “see” that Jesus was indeed the Messiah they read about but all but forgotten and put aside for their own power and glory. They lorded their desires and wants over the people, but we know “all have sinned and fall short”. Do we really believe that what we believe about God and His Son really real? What is in the treasury of our hearts? What are the fruits that flow from this treasury? What does the “ledger of our accounts look like? I am pausing to look inside my own heart and take account of what has been stored up. I repent for I am ashamed of some of the words said. Because with Jesus, words that flow from our hearts is serious business.
“And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”–Jesus
Here’s a thought…Idle words lead to idolatry of self. Yikes! I’m praying right now for forgiveness of all the idle words I have spoken that offend our Lord I love and serve, Jesus Christ my Savior.
Matthew—The Law Fulfilled
Matthew 12:22-37, NLT
Jesus and the Prince of Demons
22 Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn’t speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see. 23 The crowd was amazed and asked, “Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?”
24 But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.”
25 Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart. 26 And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided and fighting against himself. His own kingdom will not survive. 27 And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. 28 But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. 29 For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.
30 “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
31 “So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.
33 “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. 34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 35 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. 36 And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
Abba, Father in Heaven,
Hallowed be your Name! May your Kingdom come and reign supremely in us, from the inside out! May Your Will with your words flowing from repentant hearts be expressed in the most excellent way by your love, mercy and grace. Yes, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who hurt us with words. Help us to be more gracious with less unkindness. Help us all to speak words that build each other up, not tear them down. Help us to avoid “civil wars” in your church built upon You, dear Jesus. Help me to be all you want me to be. Help me then to do all you want me to do. One day at a time.
In Jesus Name, Amen