"For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks..."
Every time I read this passage my pulse quickens. What we say is a reflection of the condition of our heart. Are we speaking words of love, grace, encouragement, affirmation, hope, peace & kindness? Do we seek to console and set at ease those around us? Or do we speak words of sarcasm, criticism, complaint, anger, disappointment and judgment? Are we quick to curse? Do we laugh it off as "just a joke"? Maybe it's deeper than that.
The author goes on to say a few verses later that on the day of judgment, we will have to "give an account for every careless word" we utter. Every careless word! We've all spoken countless "careless words" in our lifetimes. How do we protect against that? It appears we are to guard our hearts. "Don't swear!" isn't the point We swear (and criticize, and judge, and...) because our hearts aren't right. Instead, God calls us to surround ourselves with that which is positive.
"Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Phil. 4:8).
May it be so in my life.