Word for Wednesday…The source of our speech
How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.Matthew 12:34
Have you ever blurted out something rude, insensitive, or hurtful, and wondered, “Where did that come from?” One Saturday morning in college I sat down to breakfast in the school cafeteria with a few of my good friends. One friend in particular was sharing his plans for what remained of the weekend. As he spoke, I wasn’t paying as much attention to what he had on his agenda, but what was absent, namely, school work, a job, or any responsibilities to speak of. Basically, he was going to be having fun for a solid, forty-eight hour period. My response was short and biting, “When are you going to act like a grown up and do something besides play all day?” The look on his face revealed both his shock and hurt. I wondered what had prompted me to say such a thing. According to the author of Proverbs, it was my heart that was responsible.My weekend plans were nothing like his. I had a twenty-page paper to write that was due Monday, a job to go to that afternoon, and responsibilities at church the following morning. And this was par for the course for me. My busy schedule with no time for rest, relaxation, or play had filled my heart with bitterness, anger, and jealously toward those who were not in similar circumstances. Sadly, it took hurting my friend’s feelings to realize I was pushing myself too hard and I needed to make some serious changes if I wanted a heart that would produce more positive, uplifting, and encouraging words, and an attitude that would celebrate with my friends rather than condemn them. I think I ended up getting my first “C” that semester, but I had a lot of fun doing it. I’m not trying to make the case for observing the Sabbath, though that was certainly something I discovered. What I am trying to say is that our speech never comes out of nowhere. It is a reflection of what it is in our heart. We can learn to bite our tongues and keep most things to ourselves, but no one is immune from the occasional lapse in self control where they really let someone have it. It might be a friend, a spouse, a child, a coworker, or the person who waits on your table or checks you out at the grocery store. Whatever it is that is boiling in your heart will eventually bubble over and burst out of your mouth when you least expect it, burning, or blessing, the person with whom you are having a conversation.If you want your speech to be positive, encouraging, and uplifting, you need to consider more than what comes out of your mouth, but what lies within, in your heart. Pay close attention to the things you say. Ask a good friend you can trust, who will be honest with you, to rate the quality of your speech. If the words you say reflect bitterness, anger, condescension, pride, jealousy, or a critical spirit, ask God and the people you have hurt to forgive you. Then make yourself available to the Holy Spirit and the work he wants to do in you. Ask Him to cleanse and purify your heart, and if necessary, even change your circumstances, so that everything you say honors God and is a blessing to those around you.