Words From The Soul

"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 12:36-37

"You better watch what you say young man/lady."  That line has probably either been inflicted upon you, or has been used by you toward a son/daughter, etc.  There is certainly truth to it.....we should not let our obsessively forked tongue do too much damage.  But the reality of that statement is not as it appears on the face of it - watching what we say is not near as important as watching our hearts.

I used to think that Jesus was, in this passage in Matthew, telling us not to cuss or say bad stuff about the fat kid that rides the bus.  Think it?  Sure.  But don't say it.  To be honest, I'm not sure that is what He was getting at.  In looking at the context of the passage (that Jesus was addressing the religious leaders of the day called Pharisees and that He was talking about good and bad trees and the fruit that naturally results from them), it becomes pretty obvious that Jesus is talking about the root of where our words originate....deep in our hearts.  In fact, Jesus states it very clearly when He says, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34b).  So, to get at cleaning up our words it will be necessary to let Jesus get at cleaning up our hearts.  We sometimes forget that Jesus is not just listening to our words, but that He is reviewing our hearts.

Remember when you were younger and it came time to say the blessing before eating (though I realize some of you had no such upbringing)?  Often a game would be played as to who had the misfortune of saying the blessing before eating.  The game was that the last person to put their thumbs up on the table was the poor soul that had the awful task of asking God's blessing on the food.  Upon losing, I (or others I have noticed) would complain that we were not the last one to go thumbs up on the table and would immediately want a recount.  After deliberation and a guilty verdict, only then would we concede by offering up a prayer.  Most of the time, we would offer up a prayer that had a line it that said something about thanks for the food, and "Thank you, God, for the opportunity to speak to you.....".  12 seconds before the prayer, we were arguing about who would be the non-motor-skilled idiot that would have the bad luck of saying the blessing, and then we would talk to God like He was not listening to the entire conversation up to that point.  So much for our theology of omniscience, huh?

God hears all of our words because He sees all of our hearts.  He knows the words we mean, and the ones we don't.  He even hears the words we don't speak (like when you do "mind-cussing" at someone, or call them a name only in your head so you think you feel better).  Simply put, it all reveals what is inside of our souls.

For next week, maybe I will talk about how we can cultivate our souls.  For now, though, it might be important to remember that God hears not only the "tough" conversation that you have to have with a friend/classmate/spouse/employee, etc., but He also hears the conversations that lead to that conversation.  He hears what you and I say about people, and what we actually say to the same people.  He hears it all........not just because He has bionic ears, but because He can read the source of where those words originate....our souls.