"You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." Matthew 12:34
We all remember the neighborhood tattletale—not the most popular kid on the block! He or she took great delight in exposing deeds we were trying to hide.
Unfortunately, our tongues play that much-despised role in our own lives. Jesus said that we speak “out of the overflow of the heart” (Matthew 12:34). In other words, our speech often tells on us, revealing the attitudes we would rather not have others know about.
My friends who practice medicine tell me that certain sicknesses produce terrible breath; and so it is with sinful hearts. Paul vividly describes sinners in Romans 3:13: “Their throats are open graves,” venting the smell of death.
I recall the day when I spouted off to my kindergarten teacher. I can’t remember what created the crisis, but I do remember telling my teacher to “shut up.” I then promptly left the room and headed home. As I walked down the block, I noticed that my mother was working in the backyard. I stopped dead in my tracks. What would I tell her? My options were before me. I could face my mother; face the teacher; or walk alone into the big, cruel world.
I chose the least of the three evils and went back to school. My teacher met me at the door, took me by the arm, and marched me to the restroom, where she washed out my mouth with soap!
It was a never-to-be-forgotten lesson. But to be honest, I needed more than a mouth washing. I needed a heart-wash. My little 5-year-old rebellious spirit had shown up in my mouth. And if we aren’t careful, the attitudes we have as adults will show up there as well. Anger, pride, fear, sensuality, and a host of other sins we harbor in our hearts will eventually show up in the words we say.
In essence, all talk is heart-talk. Groom your heart to grow in Jesus, and your words will show it. Neglect your heart, and your very own tongue will tattle on you every time.
• What kinds of things do you like to talk about?
• Do these things reveal a problem area in your heart?
• Do they bring glory to Jesus and reflect His character?
• How have you been challenged about the words you use? What does your speech say about your relationship with God?