Unwholesome Talk

At the End, we’re going to have to give Him an account for all the shots we fired. So let us set a guard on our mouth. By Major Matthew Satterlee

Imagine for a minute that you and I have been invited on an outdoor excursion with friends for the week—a week in the wilderness living off the land. We roll up in our truck to the middle of nowhere to meet some friends before we hike into the woods. While we are there, in the clearing, getting our gear together, one of our friends is just walking carelessly around, and holding a loaded shotgun. He’s holding it in his hands as he packs his bag, as he unloads the truck, as he ties up his boots. Just passing it hand to hand, the barrel pointing every which way. Fed up we say, “What are you doing, bro?! Don’t you know how dangerous that is?!” 

In the same way that a loaded shotgun, thrown around carelessly, can be deadly, our mouths can do the very same thing. We carelessly throw our words around while we’re at work, while we drive our cars, while we have hushed conversations in back hallways. We also have loaded shotgun fingers when we type out words and comments on social media. “What are you doing, bro?! Don’t you know how dangerous that is?!”

Jesus speaks to the Pharisees in Matthew 12. As He speaks, He knows the thoughts of the Pharisees standing before Him sneering. Then Jesus drops the mic on us all with Matthew 12:36 (NIV), “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” 

Whether we deny it, whether we don’t agree with it, whether we want to hope that it doesn’t happen, one day there will be a meeting. There will be a Judge and we will have to give an account for every word that our shotgun of a mouth has blasted. Every poisonous word of gossip that we let loose with friends will be brought to account. Every time we’ve slandered someone. Every time we’ve typed a harmful comment on social media. It will all be brought to account. 

Jesus, in one verse, puts us on notice. We’ve got personal responsibility for every trigger word we let fly. James hits us later in the Book by saying in James 1:26 (NIV), “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues, deceive themselves and their religion is worthless.” Worthless, or careless, it shows us how our mouths, our tongues, our words are just like a loaded shotgun that we just toss around while we go about our day. 

At the End, we’re going to have to give Him an account for all the shots we fired. So let us set a guard on our mouth. “Those who guard his lips preserve their lives, but those who speaks rashly will come to ruin” (Proverbs 13:3, NIV). May we confess with those same lips the sins that we’ve spoken out into the world. May we speak each word as an encouragement and a kindness to those we talk to every single day.

Matthew 12:36

Dig Deeper:

St. Jerome said, “An idle word is what is spoken without benefit to the speaker and the listener.” Are the words that we say each day a benefit to others? Are they a benefit to ourselves as well? 

  • February 1: Romans 14:12
  • February 2: 1 Thessalonians 5:11
  • February 3: Hebrews 4:13
  • February 4: Hebrews 13:17
  • February 5: 2 Corinthians 5:10
  • February 6: James 4:17
  • February 7: Ephesians 4:25
  • February 8: Proverbs 12:18
  • February 9: Proverbs 10:19
  • February 10: Proverbs 18:21
  • February 11: Matthew 12:34
  • February 12: Proverbs 18:13
  • February 13: Ephesians 4:29
  • February 14: Proverbs 15:4
  • February 15: Psalm 19:14
  • February 16: Colossians 4:6
  • February 17: Matthew 12:37
  • February 18: Colossians 3:8
  • February 19: Matthew 15:18     
  • February 20: Luke 6:45
  • February 21: James 3:5
  • February 22: Romans 10:9
  • February 23: Psalm 141:3
  • February 24: Proverbs 11:12
  • February 25: Isaiah 55:11
  • February 26: Isaiah 40:8
  • February 27: Jeremiah 15:16
  • February 28: Proverbs 27:2

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