“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
(James 3:9-12 NIV)
“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”
(Matthew 12:34-35 NIV)
“What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them….But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.”
(Matthew 15:11,18 NIV)
“Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.”
(Proverbs 4:23 NIV)
As I reflect back to the study of James’ letter, along with Jesus’ teaching, Solomon’s wise words in Proverbs become even more profound. If we squeeze too much toothpaste out of the tube, we can’t put it back. Our words are the same – once we say them, we can’t un-say them, or put them back in our mouths, like they never happened.
And where do our words come from? Our hearts.
Rather than put a muzzle our our mouths, we need a transformation of our hearts that only the Lord can do.
And what does the Lord use to transform our hearts? His Word, and His Spirit.
“I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.”
(Psalm 119:11 NIV)
Our hearts are like a cup holding liquid; the question is not about the cup, but about the cup’s contents. When life happens, it’s like the “cup” of our hearts gets bumped. What splashes out? Is it goodness and the God’s love, or anger and selfishness and other negative things? Our words are what spill out, and give us the clue as to what’s in our hearts.
May our hearts be full of God’s grace and mercy and love, so when we get “bumped”, others see and hear His goodness in us.