I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37)
Careless words get us into trouble.
What exactly qualifies a word as careless? Anything we speak without giving sufficient attention or thought to avoiding harm or errors. It’s the words we speak without enough concern. And that concern involves so many aspects. Concern for truth. Concern for impact. Concern for motivation.
Just a few verses before, we find, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” (Matthew 12:33-34)
Careless describes our words and our motivations. It also describes us.
We can make some outlandish claims about the ease of faith. But the truth is just because we follow Jesus doesn’t mean our lives are neat and tidy. We still have struggles and challenges. Our situations don’t magically change just because we have faith in Jesus. Anyone who claims that Jesus made everything in his or her life better and took away all pain, concerns, anxiety, needs, and more isn’t being honest–with you or themselves.
But Jesus gives us a filter of hope. Same situations but we face them differently. We look at them differently, considering the possibilities and bearing a heavy but slightly relieved load. Life is still difficult. We still hurt. We grieve. We struggle. We wonder. But we do all those things with hope…that we can have peace even when life seems chaotic, that Jesus assures us even in our uncertainties. We do not and cannot fully understand the future, let alone the present, but we can trust the One who does.