A long time ago in a faraway land, otherwise known as Singletown, I dated an artist who used his talent to woo my heart. On one particular card he drew a caricature of himself with heart-shaped voice bubbles rising out of him, each with the word “Sara” within. Inside the card, it simply had the Scripture verse from Matthew 12:34b: “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
Reader, I did not marry him. (Sorry, had to throw in a little Jane Eyre allusion there.) He didn’t ask. But he did win my heart–at least for a time–and helped me forever memorize that Scripture.
And, some days, I find it downright discouraging–because what comes out of my mouth (or through my keyboard) is not pretty, which points to an abundance of something “not pretty” in my heart. Knowing the Scripture, I can look at what is coming out of my mouth or fingertips and know when something is out of balance in my life.
When I consider the context of the verse, and the fact that in a red-letter edition of the Bible, all of these words would be in red, indicating Jesus spoke them, I not only feel a bit convicted, I feel scared:
You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”(Matthew 12:34-37)
I likely am not alone. On any given day, I overhear parents speaking to their children, and I cringe, wondering what effect those words will have. Because in addition to “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” I firmly believe that into the heart the mouth speaks.
As children, we learned the chant, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Real or not real? (OK, my token allusion to Peeta in Mockingjay.) Not real. Complete lie.
You likely remember someone saying something ugly and how it stuck in your heart. I fully remember my older (shorter) brother exclaiming over my 7th grade self when he got back from college: “Man, look at those hands! Look at those feet! You’re a monster!” He spoke out of his insecurity, as a relatively short male; I heard it through my insecurity. It landed in my heart and stuck.
But one of my sister’s friends (who was nine years older than me and thus able to speak this way) said, “Wow! Sara is like a beautiful rose, about to bloom.” Ahh! I also heard that through my insecurity; it landed in my heart and stuck.
Knowing that the state of my words indicates the state of my heart and that my words speak into others’ hearts (not to mention being judged and condemned by them) makes me want to keep my words few and my heart pure.
Which means, I’m keeping this post short today. 🙂