"The Power of Words"
"Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Matthew 12:34-40 (New King James Version)
I was told this week by a co-worker that I had a "sharp tongue." I will be honest: I was not at all pleased in hearing that. I felt my back go up a little bit, defensive, even because she misunderstood what I said and it wasn't the first time.
However, I apologized for hurting her. She said "that hurt me," and instead of engaging in a debate and defending myself as to why I said what I said, I simply said I was sorry. Two other co-workers who witnessed the entire interaction made light of it and apologized to this girl, too, for anything they had done that may have offended her. I understood why they did that, but I didn't want to diminish what had just happened, so I was able to talk with her more freely about it today when I ran into her so she knew I was sincere and I was actually glad she was able to speak so openly when that *thing* happened. I explained myself a little further, she told me what she had encountered with other folks previous to that, so it made perfect sense why what I said was taken so personally.
That really doesn't let me off the hook altogether. I can be acerbic. I can be pretty quick with a retort and even swifter with an "inside voice" comment. If I feel I am justified, I will fight to the bitter end to prove my point. However, the bitter end is not what the Lord requires of me. He requires a humbled heart and showing deference to my neighbor, no matter how "right" I am or how "mislead" my neighbor is. My words can breathe life into someone or it can take the air right out of their balloon; unfortunately, I have witnessed both on many accounts. I am a work in progress.
In the end, however, when I appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, I won't be trying to defend myself for everything I have done and said while in the body because He will already be aware. I am simply working to whittle down the list, if even a tiny bit.