Matthew 15:11 “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

     Words come out of the mouth.  But what kind of words?  The Bible says the tongue has the power of life and death; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21)  We can speak words of encouragement or we can speak words of condemnation; “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.” (James 3:9,10)

     Jesus made the connection between a man’s tongue and his heart; “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies . . . ” (Matthew 15:18,19)   Matthew Henry tells us; “It is the heart that is desperately wicked, Jer 17:9, for there is no sin in word or deed, which was not first in the heart. They all come out of the man, and are fruits of that wickedness which is in the heart, and is wrought there.”

     Years ago, while watching an old western movie I heard Kevin Costner who played a beat up old cowboy say; ‘Eventually, every man will tell you his intentions if you just listen carefully to what he’s saying.’  For some you have to listen very carefully for quite a while.  Others quickly get to the point when they are in an angry rage or frustrated.  Those who curse others and lay heavy burdens of shame, guilt and anxiety on people to manipulate them will eat their own words; “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:6)

     When any person claiming to speak for God,  lays a curse on someone or lays a prophesy of doom over them because they are displeased with their choices, that person exposes  himself for what he is – an angry self-righteous little false prophet.  James explains; “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 3:11,12)

     Jesus tells us plainly that this kind of vindictive judgement coming out of a person’s mouth  will bring the same on them ; “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:2)  What does this say for us?  Listen, listen, listen – to others and to what comes out of your own mouth.  Use your words to build up not break down.

     Jesus calls us to a higher standard; “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:43,44,45)

     If you’re like me, you can only do that through His strength (Philippians  4:13)

     Praise the Lord!