Know what really scares me as a pastor? It’s that my words are going to cause people to take action.

People will, based on a sermon, based on a tweet, based on an interaction, or a counseling session decide things about their future based on my advice based on how I explain the wisdom of the scriptures. That is a heavy responsibility.

The fact is, that responsibility weighs on all of us. It weighs more on those who speak up for and represent what they believe the Scriptures to teach. James, in the third chapter of his book, addresses that. He says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers. Because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1 NIV) And he’s saying that all of us will be judged for our words because our words will make a difference in the people around us. But for those who choose to teach, there is this extra layer of responsibility.

What I want you to understand and what I want you to take away from this is that your words matter. The things that you say matter.

When you are speaking up for someone or against someone, those words matter.

When you are insulting, rude, or mean, those words matter.

When you’re edifying, encouraging, building someone up, those words matter.

When you’re giving advice or counsel of praying over someone, your words matter.

You’ll be held accountable for what your words have said.

In the next few days’ worth of devotionals, I’m going to talk about the power of our tongue and how it is that we can use our words in a positive, powerful way. But for now, I just want you to be thinking about this – your words will matter, perhaps, for eternity, and God is always listening.

That’s what scares me most as a pastor.

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