God cares about what we say; He’s paying attention to and recording every idle word. (Re 20:12) The LORD will require every one of us to give an explanation to Him before the universe for each and every word we’ve ever spoken, all of them, why we said what we said, what our motivation was. (Mt 12:36) We’ll be judged, justified or condemned, based on what we’ve uttered. (vs 37)
This is because our speech reveals our inmost nature, what we’re thinking and feeling is eventually expressed with our tongues. (vss 34-35) Most mere behavior is not necessarily good or bad, in and of itself: what gives an action its moral nature is why it’s done. What we say reveals our intent.
And our tongue, the enabler of speech, is a fire, a veritable world of iniquity, because it’s inextricably linked to our hearts, which are set on fire of Hell itself. (Ja 3:6) As we think in our hearts, so we are (Pr 23:7), and so we speak.
In light of this, we should be very careful with our hearts, continually examining ourselves for selfish, prideful motivations, constantly seeking God for a clean heart (Ps 51:10), that He would help us think, feel and speak rightly. (Ps 19:14)
We should measure our words and be precise in our speech, purifying our promises, only speaking what we fully intend to do. (Nu 30:2) We guard our mouths as with a bridle (Ps 39:1b) and think carefully before we speak. (Ja 1:19) We should always say what we mean and mean what we say, needing no oath to mark our sincerity. (Ja 5:12)
Our words are so powerful that God provides a remedy to correct commitments we happen make thoughtlessly, under duress, when we’re pressured in the heat of the moment to vow without proper time to examine our motives and consider the implications of what we’re saying. (Le 5:4)
In such cases, when we come to ourselves and realize what we’ve done, that we’ve committed ourselves in a manner that’s contrary to Love (Le 19:18), we promptly confess our sin, repent, and reconcile with God. (vs 5) God mercifully allows us to bring a sacrifice to Him to atone for our ways: it costs a life, one offered up in our stead (vs 6); it’s no light thing.
We can thus give account for careless words, spoken hastily and thoughtlessly, in advance, and address them now so we won’t be held accountable on Judgement Day. But words spoken under normal circumstances, with our wits about us, are etched into eternity for all to ponder. (Lk 12:3)
To think we can say whatever we like to get our way, to claim our lips are our own, that no one’s Lord over us (Ps 12:4), is to reveal a true enmity against Heaven. God’s people do not live like this. (Ps 39:1a)
As God did in Creation, it is through the spoken word that we who are made in His image bring forth metaphysical reality into existence from the chaos of the void before us; with our speech we create the present from the future to be eternally preserved in the past. We wound, we heal, we encourage and exhort, engaging in spiritual conflict for good or for evil. (Pr 12:18) Let us create soberly, fearfully, wisely.