I recently read an article about a pastor who was receiving a lot of criticism as of late, culminating in him stepping down as head pastor of his church while charges against him are investigated. What was the reason so many were calling for his resignation? While I won’t get into specifics, this is not another case of someone found in adultery, someone who abused his wife and kids or took money from the church. So what was the reason for all this scrutiny? For all the different circumstances and stories that his past parishioners and employees are telling—the bottom line is: he was unkind. He could be mean. A bully. And not by anything that he did, but simply by the careless words he let come out of his mouth time and again, year after year. In anger. In arrogance. Unapologetically.

And I am reminded once again that my words matter. The way I speak to people, matters. I am accountable as a leader for the things that I say to those around me. And reading about this pastor made me assess how I speak to and about those around me.

Am I leading well with my words?

Because I can certainly relate to letting careless words come out of my mouth from time to time. But am I someone who can humbly go back and apologize, realizing the error in my words and attempt to make changes? Do I use my words to speak honestly (in love) when the need arises? And do I use my words to build others up, not tear them down?

This is what defines me as a leader who leads well with my words.

And as I prayed for this pastor and his family, I’m reminded there is a consequence for my words. There is weight to what I say. And guarding my tongue may be one of the greatest and most powerful things I do as a leader.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Want to know more about how our words matter? Join us for Fall Conference where we’ll learn how to live well with our words! More info here: http://www.btgconference.org/