Watch Your Words
““And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.” Matthew 5:33–37 MSG
Words are so important that Jesus goes on to detail the following ways in which we are not to use words:
1. Insincere Words
These are words when you say what you don’t mean and don’t mean what you say. These are words that are spoken without faith. Empty words spoken without thought, spoken without heart. These are untrue words and this is a lack of integrity where what you actually believe and what you say are two different things.
2. Pious words
Words that are cloaked in religious clothing, ‘I’ll pray for you brother’ when that may never be the intent. I’ve discovered that when people ask me to pray for them the best thing to do is to pray then and there because if I agree and never pray for them I’ve just indulged in religious games. Jesus is most concerned about this because we can add so much religiosity to our words.
3. Manipulative words
“Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no”, Jesus said. “When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.” Taking advantage of people, emotionally manipulating them with words and twisting things to your own selfish ends.
These are ungodly and childish ways of living. Our call is to turn back on these things and,
“Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:48 MSG