Out of The Mouth

hanging hearts-matt15-10

When I was a young, my momma used to say, “you can think whatever you’d like, just don’t say whatever you think.” It was one of those sayings that are passed down from mother to daughter for generations. She had heard from her mother who had heard it from her mother, and along with it, she’d also say, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!” If you think about it, its pretty practical advice, sage even – what I like to call Kansas farm sense – and usually not what a teenage girl wants to hear, but wise council never-the-less, straight from the book of proverbs.

Proverbs 18:8 tells us that a “gossip’s words are like choice morsels, they sink into the inmost being,” and 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power over life and death; those who indulge it must eat it’s fruit.” Let that wash over you for just a moment. Let it penetrate and take hold. What are some of the things that come out of our mouths? Are our words bitter, sour, vile and nasty filled with outrage and hateful barbs, or are they sweet, tender, gentle and caring filled with hope and loving kindness? The things we say matter, and whether we speak praise or slander, truth or lies, those “choice morsels” are the fruit we must eat.

In Matthew 15:11, Jesus says, “It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth – this defiles a person,” and in verse 18 he explains that whatever comes out of the mouth precedes from the heart. Think about that for a minute. It’s what we have been holding dear, what we have filled ourselves with that we carelessly let fly out of our mouths. Our words have power, power to build up or power to tear down. They also have consequences, and that’s why it behooves us to measure them carefully, to think before we speak, to understand that what we say and how we say it will come back to us, if for no other reason than to continually examine what we’ve been holding dearest in our hearts, and to know that we’ll may have to eat those words – the fruit of our tongues, which springs from our hearts.
~SLM

 

What Fills the Heart

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Isaiah 29:13 which states, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me,” and since it’s Valentine’s Day, the day we all like to give our hearts away, I thought I’d share my ponderings. So, just what exactly is a “far away” heart, what does it mean?  It means not near, estranged and lacking in closeness, distant. When we are distant from someone, we do not hear them, we do not feel them, and we do not see them.

The Message translates this verse like this: “These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their hearts aren’t in it. Because they act like they’re worshiping me but don’t mean it,” and goes on to translate verse 14 as, “I’m going to step in and shock them awake, astonish them, stand them on their ears. The wise ones who had it all figured out will be exposed as fools. The smart people who thought they knew everything will turn out to know nothing.” This verse is so fascinating to me, because it seems to speak on so many levels. It’s about what fills our hearts and the actions that stem from our beliefs. It’s also about hypocrisy, about saying one thing while doing another. It’s about arrogance and pride and bearing false witness.

A far away heart means being unaware of what is in your heart, not knowing what you accept as true or why you accept it, not loving others as you would be loved, and trusting in God, but not trusting Him. Others may not know what is truly in our hearts, but God knows, and he can tell if we are near or far, if our hearts are filled with his love or something else entirely. One thing I know for sure is this: Whether we realize it or not, we live where our hearts are, holding in them all that we value, all that we hope for, all that is dear to us, and no matter what our lips say, or what we declare, our actions are always, always in accordance with our true beliefs, with what fills the heart.

May your heart always be close to God’s and filled with His love today and always…

~SLM