Think before You Speak

Lou Lotz

READ : Matthew 26:59-64

Many false witnesses came forward. (v. 60)

Has anyone ever said things about you that weren’t true? Maybe somebody slandered you, or yanked your words out of context, making it sound like you said something that you hadn’t said. Perhaps someone deliberately misquoted you, or spread rumors about you. What a painful experience that is.

I always feel a twinge of sadness when I read in the gospel that “many false witnesses came forward” at Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas. A parade of witnesses lied about Jesus. They misquoted him. They bore false witness. He who was the very truth of God had to endure the lies of men.

The ninth commandment says: “Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor” (Deut. 5:20). Jesus said that we are accountable for our words: “I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:36-37). To Jesus, words constituted conduct; words were deeds done with the lips. The honesty and integrity of our words, then, should be just as important as the honesty and integrity of our deeds. Before you speak, ask yourself: “What I am about to say, is it true? Is it kind? Is it helpful?”

PRAYER

Lord, help me always to speak the truth in love.