I read this passage in my time alone with God this past week and it’s just hung on for several days.
In Matthew 12, Jesus said: 30 “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit………For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
This reminds me of the power of example and words.
Every year we do an evaluation of our entire staff team (including me) and the main things we look at are Flexibility, Loyalty, Attitude, Competency, Chemistry, & Character. I want our team to always be aware of our example in each of these areas. I think they’re important for every Christ-follower to consider.
How’s your example? At one point, Paul (who wrote much of the New Testament) said – follow my example as I follow Christ! In Phil 2, Paul said we ought to have the attitude of Christ in all things. Do you? Are you humble? Do you give grace to others? Do you look for ways to serve others; even those who don’t like you – or maybe that you don’t particularly like. If you claim to be a follower of Christ, does your example gather people to Jesus? If not, what did He say in verse 30?
What about your words? In verse 36, Jesus says some pretty strong stuff about EVERY CARELESS WORD spoken. What do you think that means? Are you careful or careless with your words? Why do you think Jesus put such a premium on speech? Could it be that your speech gathers or scatters? Do you build people up or tear them down? Do you criticize or complement? Are you always looking for something wrong in others, or looking for something right? Did you know Jesus said the author of accusations against Christ-followers is Satan? If critical negative words are all that come from your mouth, what does that say about your heart? The good news is that Jesus came to give us a heart transplant and He’s the healer of every broken heart. If your heart’s broken – give it to Him. If it’s filled with unhealthy stuff – give it to Him.
Let’s not be careless with our example or our words. Instead, let’s be courageous! Let’s set an example with our words and lifestyle that gathers people to Christ.