New Hope Notes
Me And My Big Mouth
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
Other than Jesus, our mothers love us the most! No matter what we look like, what we say, and what we do, our moms always manage to love us, don’t they? My mom was a tiny four foot and eleven inches tall but she definitely packed a big punch! You see, no matter how fast I was – where I would do naughty things and not really be afraid of her because I knew I could outrun her – but the problem is that I always failed to remember that she was smarter than me so she’d always get me in the end.
I never had any doubt that my mom loved me but she’d say some pretty irrational things sometimes. For example, if my brother Gary and I were fighting, she’d say, “You wanna kill each other? Fine, go outside!” Or if I had a coin in my mouth as it we used to do when we were kids and our hands were busy (don’t ask me why), she’d say, “I you swallow that quarter, it’ll come out of your allowance!” Or how about, “Shut your mouth and eat your food!” or “Look at the back of your neck, it’s filthy!”
Moms sometimes say irrational things but they love us more than anyone else. Sometimes, my mom didn’t even have to say anything and I knew what she meant. She would just give us “the look” and we’d all fall into place.
Well today we’re going to talk about “Words Unspoken”: words you shouldn’t say, that should stay unspoken, and a word on the other hand that should be never go unsaid. Let’s start off today with a word from James:
“Don’t speak evil against each other, my dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize each other and condemn each other, then you are criticizing and condemning God’s law. But you are not a judge who can decide whether the law is right or wrong. Your job is to obey it.” James ()
What this passage is telling us is that when God says, “Don’t do this,” we shouldn’t question or judge it. We just need to obey it. Some people question that statement because they think the Bible is too old and the instructions are not relevant in this day and age but what they fail to realize is that just because God’s words are old (or maybe even ancient), it doesn’t mean that they’re outdated. In fact, one of the worst things we can do is to put a timeline on something’s that is timeless. Even if we don’t know why God is saying certain things, it still needs to be obeyed.
Think about it…God speaks and the world is created. He places the earth up in the sky, along with a bunch of other planets and solar systems and He tells them all to stay there – in orbit – to be in perfect balance and harmony. Scientists say that our earth is perfectly made and situated such that if it were tilted any more one way or the other than it already is…that there would be cataclysmic results. We’d freeze. We’d burn. Or there’d be tidal waves that would wipe out any forms of life on this earth.
God’s ways are timeless; though the words we read in the Bible may be from long ago, it doesn’t make them any less applicable today. So what does He tell us about our words?
“If you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” (Gal. 5:15)
God warns us to be careful about what we say. Or maybe more accurately, He warns us to not say certain things: things that bite. But how do we stop from saying things that we know we shouldn’t say? Many of us would say that we should not open our mouths, but that’s not really it because your words don’t really start from your mouth. That’s where they exit your body out into the world but they really originate from your heart. So how do you know when to speak and not speak?
1. BUILD GOOD TREASURE IN YOUR HEART.
“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Ps. 141:3). Or perhaps more importantly, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. ).
When I was a youth pastor, we used to take the kids to a camp that was up in the mountains and we used to get all of our water for cooking and washing from an artesian well that flowed down near the camp. One year, one of the park rangers came by to test the water – as they did regularly to confirm it was okay to use – and the ranger immediately told us to cease using the water. We later found out that a dead animal had fallen into the well so that everything that flowed downstream from that well was contaminated. And that’s exactly how it is with us: if our hearts are pure, what flows from our hearts (out of our mouths) is pure as well but if our hearts are impure, the results will be impure as well.
“Don’t criticize the king, even silently, and don’t criticize the rich, even in the privacy of your bedroom” (Eccl. ). This passage warns us not to criticize others (even in silence or privacy) because that behavior is corrosive to your heart and it will eventually become known, no matter how much we think it won’t.
We must only allow good treasure to build up in our hearts so to that end, we must also protect our hearts from bad things entering it. When people talk to you and they say things that you know aren’t from God – for example, mean-spirited comments or unhelpful criticism – do not let those things enter your heart and affect you. Flush those things that aren’t of God. Keep a protective lid on your hearts and don’t let those negative things in. Only build good treasure.
“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks that which fills his heart.” (Luke 6:45)
When we talk about the way we speak, we usually assume we’re only talking about our words but we really communicate in three ways:
And when you consider these three forms of communication, which do you think is actually the most important? It’s your spirit. Even if your words are fairly straightforward, the spirit with which you say them can have much more impact on the recipient. Watch your heart with all diligence because the words that you say can (and will) be overwritten by your spirit (or attitude). A spirit of anger, frustration, disgust, or distress will always overshadow the words that we use. If I have a jealous heart, it will always come out. And people often blame others for these things saying, “Well he made me angry because he did this,” or “She is causing me stress because of that!” But the truth is that these things are not caused from outside factors; it’s all from within.
Important Point: Blaming others will rob you of the power it takes to change.
The first thing for us to remember in controlling what comes out of our mouths is to build good treasure in our hearts because from out of a good heart will come good things. But what if you’re perplexed, confused, and don’t know what to do? What is the second thing for us to do?
2. LEARN TO PONDER.
To ponder is to take what you think, what you’ve heard, and God’s word and to think on these things until you come to a better perspective. It’s to take something that is anger-producing or resentment-producing and ponder on it until it becomes character-producing.
When you ponder, you can rise above things, even when you’re confused. Consider what Mary did when she was approached by the messenger angel Gabriel, “But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was” (Luke ). By pondering on these things, Mary was able to rise above her confusion, “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke ).
Take something that could be destructive and hurtful and mix it, mix it, mix it with God’s words until you can see it God’s way; otherwise, you can become a critic, doubtful, and resentful. When you mix these things with tears and faith, it turns ordeals into adventures.
Important Point: The only difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude.
Don’t let harsh words make you bitter or resentful, and don’t speak evil (bad treasure) against others…
3. BUT NEVER KEEP LOVE UNSPOKEN.
Never leave love unspoken because everyone needs love! Everyone wears a sign that says, “Please tell me that I’m valuable today.” Everyone needs love; everyone needs help; and everyone needs to feel appreciated. Let me close with this story:
After 17 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner. That woman was my mother. She had been alone for about 20 years now and although I did see and talk to her occasionally, I didn’t spend much time with her. When I called her to ask her out, her first reaction was, “Are you okay? What’s wrong?” When I told her I just wanted to take her out to dinner and maybe a movie, she said she thought that’d be nice.
On my way over to pick her up a few days later, I was kind of nervous. When I arrived at her home, I noticed that she looked a bit nervous too. She mentioned that she had told her friends – the ones that she goes walking with around the mall – that she had a date with her son and they were all so excited for her.
When we arrived at the restaurant, she couldn’t really read the menu so I read it to her. She reminded me that she used to read me the menu when I was little and I told her it was about time that I returned the favor. We talked so much over dinner, not about anything in particular, that we had forgot about the movie. When I dropped her off, she said she had such a lovely that she’d like to do it again but only if she could pay next time. We agreed.
A few days later, she passed away…and I received a letter in the mail. It was from my mother. It was a receipt from the restaurant we had gone to but it was for a meal that hadn’t yet been had. Her letter said that she wasn’t sure if she would be able to make our next date so she had gone ahead and pre-paid for two plates – one for me and one for my wife – for us to enjoy some time.
Words unspoken: some should never be spoken, some always should. We must guard are words by guarding our hearts and only build up good treasure from where all of our words originate. And when we are angry, hurt, or confused, we need to ponder on these things and mix it, mix it, mix it with our faith until we can see things God’s way. Then lastly, whenever we have the chance, we need to speak love to one another. We all want and need love – and we can all give love freely because God provides us with more than enough love than we need.
Hug your mom today. Tell her that you love and appreciate her. Remember that next to God, no one loves you more – no matter what!
1. How do you filter what you say before you say it? Or do you?
2. How do you filter what is said to you and what you add to your heart versus flush?
3. How do you communicate most often? By words, gesture, or spirit? Is the message you’re trying to get across usually consistent amongst those methods? If not, what should you do to make your message clear/consistent?
4. Do you usually “ponder” things before reacting or just depositing them into your heart? How do you think pondering things (through tears, faith, and God’s word) will affect the outcome?
5. How do you speak love to those around you? To your spouse? To your children? To your parents? To your siblings? To your neighbors/friends/co-workers? To your enemies or the unlovable? How do you speak love in way that would make God proud?