I have always been a very sarcastic person. Spend an hour with me and you will be sure to confirm this. Sometimes I will flippantly say things that I don't really mean, always in a sarcastic tone. Lately, my husband will reply to me, "You will give account for that to the Lord!" He will say this in a somewhat kidding way, but I will respond, "But the Lord knows my heart!" We may both be correct, but just because the Lord knows my heart, that doesn’t mean that everyone else does. Sometimes I speak my thoughts before I even have time to process them myself. If I am not careful, I might say something in jest that someone will take literally. I might hurt someone or lose my witness. Much of what I say in my sarcasm is completely unnecessary. In all honesty, almost all of the words we speak in a typical day can be deemed unnecessary.
“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.”
The Lord has been teaching me that I need to let Him lead my speech. I have never been great with words, so my sarcasm comes most easily and needs to be restrained. I am trying to take James’ recommendation and be “slow to speak” (James 1:19). I am learning to consider whether my words are necessary because “not all things edify” (1 Corinthians 10:23). It is important to remember this also includes the words we text, type, and sing!
The Lord has also been teaching me that I need to let Him lead my silence. Sometimes what is more important than careful speech is knowing when not to speak. There are times when I am quick to offer someone advice when all they really needed was an ear to hear them. I have found that I have missed opportunities to get to know someone better because I did not give them a chance to talk. When I find myself in these situations, I try to remember that there is a time and place for both speech and silence—we just have to discern which is which.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 7
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:… a time to sew and a time to tear; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”