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Daily Worship


March 2 | Matthew 12:30-37



Set a Guard, Lord!

by Kristin Schoeff

How powerful are your words? When you speak, do people stop and listen? Are you an E. F. Hutton? (I never did get those commercials anyway….)

Most of us would probably say that our words aren’t that important and don’t impact others significantly. But that’s not at all what Jesus had to say about our words.

In this brief passage, Jesus talks about words of blasphemy with eternal consequences; He says that our words are merely an audible expression of what fills our hearts; He warns us that we will have to answer for all our careless, idle and empty words on Judgment Day (I don’t know about you, but that one puts me into a cold sweat!); and even that our very words will be used to bring acquittal or condemnation. Our words matter!!!!

Jesus carefully points out that the words we speak are simply an overflowing of what we carry in our hearts. Hearts full of the goodness and love of God will speak words of life, hope and encouragement. Hearts full of the darkness of a world turned away from God will produce words that beat down, discourage, and destroy.

As I reflected on this passage in Matthew, I was reminded of the honest words of James 3:2: “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect…” And verse 8, “but no human being can tame the tongue.” Jesus sets the bar high in Matthew 12 as He challenges the Pharisees about their words which reflect the darkness in their hearts. But James reminds us that on our own, we will make mistakes and stumble in this. So how important it is to learn to listen to our own words, confess and repent when we realize we have misspoken, and yield ourselves afresh to the Holy Spirit for His cleansing and filling our hearts with His love and wisdom, so that our words will bring His life and love to others.

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Most of us can think of times that words brought life to us – or took life’s joy and hope from us. And I’m guessing I’m not the only one who can think of times in my own life where my words to someone else were hurtful or at best insensitive and careless. I believe Jesus is challenging us in this passage to take our own words seriously and to ask the Holy Spirit to, as Psalm 141:3 says, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”


Holy Spirit, make us more aware of the impact of our words, and give us hearts full of your love that overflow into words of encouragement, hope and life. We pray this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

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