Jesus said it this way, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks…” and sometimes the words don’t have to make it out of our mouth, but they are in our heart, they dominate our thoughts, and if you are a little more quiet they don’t always come out, but our words can be a gauge for the spiritual condition of our heart and as I examine my heart there are two types of themes that tend to come out of my heart. Themes of destruction and themes of transformation. The stream of destruction has words like:
Slander: When we put other people down with our words. Sometimes they are direct, but mostly they are passive / aggressive comments that we make to others, under our breath, or in our heart. We put people down about their personality, their ability, their looks, we condescend, we belittle, and take little jabs at one another.
Gossip: When we talk about people behind their back and for some reason our heart gets so excited to talk about someone else’s little secrets. Did you hear about, did you know, did you see, can you believe or even better, I think we need to pray, we need to help, and our heart gets so excited to gossip about the failures of others.
Comparison: When we think she is prettier, but I am smarter. He is more disciplined, but I am funnier. They are better at that, but I’m not really trying. This endless task of sizing people up to see how we compare, how are we doing, if we are winning or not?
This stream of destruction that comes out of our heart creates barriers in our relationships with one another. Proverbs 18:19 teaches us that an offended brother is harder to win back than a fortified city and it’s because when we hurt one another we are quick to shut down, close up shop, and quick to think, “They hurt me once and I am not going to let them do that again.” Our words affect our relationships with others and if we want a gauge to know the spiritual condition of our heart then we simply need to look at our words.
And sometimes our words don’t always have immediate effects but they stick with us over time. It reminds me of 9/11 when the planes flew into the tower and at first it didn’t destroy the building but as the jet fuel burned and weakened the building and over time it just crumbled. We were taught sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. That is a lie. We remember what people say to us from the 1st grade, what our first boyfriend or girlfriend said about us, being compared to a sibling or a parent, and sometimes we sit around with friends and tell stories about the one time our parents said something hurtful and we laugh it off but it has created a deep wound that stays with us 20-30 years.
There is a destructive theme that comes from our heart and our if we can take the time to examine our words we can learn a lot about the condition of our heart.