"But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” (Matthew 15:18-20)
In my refrigerator I keep a water pitcher that has a water filter in it, and this filter has an indicator on it. Green means the filter is clean and able to operate as it should, yellow means the filter is beginning to get dirty and might not be functioning at tip top shape, and red means the filter is dirty and is no longer able to do its job. What if…what if our hearts had an indicator like my water filter? What if this “heart indicator” was green when your heart was clean and operating as it should, and what if after some hardships and challenging circumstances it turned yellow as your heart became polluted with emotions, frustrations, and worries. In fact, what if this indicator could also turn red when your heart was dirty, fully overwhelmed, and no longer able to function as it was meant to? And what if everyone could see this indicator on a daily basis? Would you be embarrassed and ashamed of what it showed? In fact, what would it show even right this moment? Well, God didn’t create in us a colored indicator, per se, but there is something that indicates and reveals the condition of our hearts: our mouths.
In Matthew 15 Jesus is rebuking the religious leaders for their mere facade of religiosity and righteousness. You see, they followed the religious rituals and knew the rules and ways to “look” holy, but, really, they were anything but righteous before God. Their outward displays of purity, like not eating unclean things or with unclean hands, were not what would keep them from being defiled and sinful. Jesus says it’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person but what comes out of it.
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
Their mouth indicated what was in their heart, revealing the condition of their heart, and it was their mouth that caused them to sin.
So...what has been coming out of your mouth lately? Has your mouth been full of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness? Has your mouth extended patience, encouragement, and support, and in essence, like the water filter, has it shown “green” to those around you? Or has your mouth been a little sassy, short, and unkind? Has it been used to discourage, frustrate, and create difficult situations, and in essence, like the water filter shown “yellow”? Or has your mouth been tearing down, attacking, and accusing? Has it burnt bridges, hurt people, and done damage to relationships, and shown “red”? If your mouth has shown anything but green it’s time to return and re-submit to God. Only He can change your heart, only He can clean it out, and only He can restore it. Only He can bring forgiveness, purity, and proper perspective.
With the holidays comes family gatherings and the opportunity to bless, build up, and encourage, or to curse, tear down, and hurt. May your mouth indicate and reveal a transformed and surrendered heart this holiday season.
Jesus, please forgive me for the condition of my mouth and heart. Too often I am caught up in selfish emotions and frustrations that lead my heart and mouth to being polluted, defiled, and “red”. Help me to be aware of my words, aware of my emotions, and aware of the condition of my heart that I might be used to share Your love, Your joy, Your peace, and Your hope this holiday season. In Your name, Amen!