In Matthew 12:37, we are told, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

What a sentence to contemplate.  Only sixteen words, but two of them are the same and command our attention: “words.”  And what accompanies them, other than a few prepositions and conjunction, is an emotional “slap in the face,” a contrast so large it should wake you up!

Justified.

Condemned.

For a moment, flip to an oft-occurring scene in American households.  How many parents have heard their teenager plead excuses after putting a dent in the family car?  “It wasn’t my fault!”  “I couldn’t help it!”  “Dude, it wasn’t me who designed big cars and small parking spaces.”

The undeniable fact is, however, the dent is a dent is a dent and someone has to pay for the repair.  In such situations, the parent is always grateful that the only damage is to the automobile and not another person.

Isn’t it easy to use a teenager as an example of some behavior we dislike?  So what happens on the day we are standing before God explaining why we haven’t done more for Him during our life?  I can just hear myself:  “There wasn’t time to help many people–I hardly had time for myself.”  “I always thought about praying more.”  “You know how hard it is to be honest; times have changed.”  “Look at all the money I gave; doesn’t that make up for my lack of involvement in Christian activities?”

Just like the teen, I could keep on talking.  The damage would still be done.

My human tendency is to try to justify my actions on the outside even when I know deep down that I am in the wrong.  It seems old and young alike want to make up excuses for the way in which their lives are conducted.

What then is our way of escape from the web of words we seem to spin around ourselves?  We find ourselves crying out with Paul, “Oh wretched man that I am!  Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24).

Well, it’s time to grab hold of another verse of Paul’s, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 7:25) and grasp the joy of knowing Christ.  And knowing I do not have to talk my way out of all the mistakes in my life.  My Heavenly Father has graciously taken care of all the accidents that happened and all the dents I made.  He paid the price to repair every single one of my damages.

Today I pray that God will help me think about my words–those I shouldn’t speak and those I should–so that I will glorify Him by my life.  Knowing He has taken care of everything for me, I can praise Him with a glad heart.

by Cindy Best

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