Sunday, August 2, 2015

Matthew 12:36-37 -- On Our Words and God's Words

"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
Matthew 12:36-37

I was reading this today and it reminded me of a scripture in Isaiah, which basically says that we are supposed to do *God's* stuff on the Sabbath and not our own: "not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words."  And I was thinking that would be a cool trick if we could speak God's words instead of our own, because that would probably help us come out on the justified side rather than the condemned side.  And at first the thought was frivolous, but then I realized, wow.  Maybe that is the whole point, right?  The whole gospel is teaching us to learn what God would say or do in any given moment.
God asks us to bless them that curse us and do good to them that hate us (Luke 6:27-28), in essence to learn to say what God would say.  He tells Nephi "all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will." ... Nephi's words were justified, because he had grown to understand God and to seek the same things.
I know that some people will think "brainwashing," about all of this, so let's address that.  I think that what we call brainwashing, using a word with a negative connotation, is the same thing as what we call education, using a word with a positive connotation.  What makes the difference in how we look at it are the methods used and the principles taught.  If the principles are false and the methods are coercive and deceiving, then we see it as bad.  If the principles are good, and the methods are plain and we are free to accept or not, then we usually see it as good.  God has never been a brainwasher, even though I realize that some humans have been, and tried to justify it in his name.  God is an educator.  And as we realize that what he is teaching us is true, we learn to accept it and agree with it.  But even then, he isn't turning us into stepford wives or obedient zombies.  He is teaching us to grow up into our potential, as his children... never removing our free agency, but instead showing us how important it is in learning to be spiritual adults.
Christ did a lot of quoting from scripture during his mortal ministry, which I think is interesting.  He, of all people, could easily speak his own words without fear of condemnation, but he often chose to quote from the scriptures instead.  I think that is a good example, and perhaps a place to start for us as we seek to speak God's words.  When we're pondering what to say or do, going to the scriptures for inspiration would probably help us solve more problems in our lives, but it would help us be less idle in the way that we speak to and about others.  Today, let's take the time to think about the words that we are speaking, and make sure they are ones that will help justify us, and not condemn us.

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