“The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Pretty powerful words. Jesus said this (Luke 6:45). He had a lot to say about our words. Everything that comes out of my mouth is a reflection of the condition of my heart. Everything. Sometimes my own words convict me. I begin talking with someone and a discussion starts that I know I shouldn’t have. That voice of reason – the Holy Spirit – starts telling me to shut my mouth and walk away, but the topic at hand is something I just can’t keep to myself. We all fall victim to our words at some point or another. We are imperfect, and if the mouth speaks what the heart is full of, imperfection will flow from our lips. As Christians, it’s important to work on those imperfections and transform our hearts so we can tame our tongue.
We are accountable for everything we say. “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgement. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” Matthew 12: 36-37. Every careless word? A slip of the tongue? A little white lie? These things seem so insignificant. I know I’m guilty of speaking carelessly. Knowing that every single word spoken by me will be recalled in the day of judgement makes me rethink what comes out of my mouth.
A few years ago a FaceBook friend from Bastrop, Texas posted a video of the events leading up to the destruction of her home. In the beginning, it simply looked like a normal, windy day. Leaves were blowing. The gate to their entrance was slightly bouncing in the wind. A few minutes later an individual could be seen scurrying around a vehicle. There was a sense of hurriedness in each step. The vehicle, loaded with as many belongings possible, backed into view and pulled away. A short time later, the cause of the individual’s apparent stress was seen with a tiny flickering light in the corner of the screen. In a matter of only minutes, the flicker became flames destroying everything the family owned. She took a picture several miles away from her home. It was a beautiful Texas day, but her picture showed no blue sky. Billowing smoke filled the entire frame. I stared in amazement at the image. Jesus said the tongue is like that fire (James 3:6). If we aren’t careful, even seemingly insignificant words – tiny flickering lights – can spread destruction quickly with the “smoke” permeating and ruining everything left standing. What the fire doesn’t completely turn to ashes will forever have scars of the event- be it visible charring or the ever present, faint smell of smoke. Words last too.
With his mouth, the godless man destroys his neighbor (Proverbs 11:9). We are called to love and encourage our neighbor. Actually, Jesus said to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind and to love thy neighbor as thyself (Matthew 22:39). He says the whole moral duty of man is summed up under these two categories, love for Him and love for our neighbors. Doesn’t this fall under the golden rule? Do to others what you would want done to you. Talk to others the way in which you want to be spoken. Talk about others the way about which you hope to be talked.
Many are calling the upcoming Presidential election the most critical election the US has seen in years. The time is now upon us when candidates across all parties resort to slinging some mud. While there may be truth found in the muck, do the words spoken reveal the condition of their own heart? More importantly, what do my words say about the condition of my heart? I pray we strive to remember every word counts.