““Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.””
Matthew 12:33-37 NKJV
As I have moved along this journey called life, I have encountered many fellow travelors who claim to be in the faith. Many call themselves christians, and profess to know Jesus and have been forgiven. All too often, I sense something amiss.
I am a listener. I listen to what people say and seek to gain understanding of the heart within them. I have found that what a person says in unguarded moments says a lot about the true status of their soul.
I remember a gentleman I met years ago who loudly professed to be a christian. His behavior, more importantly his words, gave me the impression that he did not know the Lord. He was overly profane, and his humor was very much below the belt. Yet, he talked of his salvation, of his being a believer. As I listened to him, the passage I read this morning would echo in my mind.
We speak from the abundance of our hearts. If filth is so present as to come to the surface in our unguarded speech, then it is safe to say that it is in abundance deep down.
It is not only the presence of filth, but also the absence of the fruit of the spirit. As a believer, I should be hearing loving words coming from my mouth, words that edify and encourage. My joy should be present, even in the most trying of times. Peace should be on my lips, representing not only the internal state of my being, but also in how I relate to others. From the wellspring of my soul should come longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, and gentleness.
All of these things are for the good of the Gospel. As a believer, I am an ambassador of Jesus Christ, representing Him as I tell others of the great salvation that is available to all. I am finding that I need to be ever mindful of my words in these last days, as there are many temptations that tug at my carnal desires and my propensity to demonstrate the sinful nature that the Lord saved me from.
Words are the first contact that we have with people, and the tongue is the most powerful part of our bodies, and has the potential to destroy.
“Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.”
James 3:5-6 NKJV
When I consider the people I encounter in the conduct of life, I know that I am encountering many who have been damaged by words, who may have had lives cursed by parents, by acquaintance, lovers and other significant parties.
The damage has become internalized and manifests itself in many ways. Probably the most evident, being perception. The damage of from evil words, causes us to look at situations as people with error, effecting how we treat them.
Our country is being shaken by the problem of race. Neither side is able to see the other, and the words we use and internalize in regard to each other affects how we react and perceive.
We are also being separated by politics, as we are being driven into warring camps, each spewing hate across the battlefield at the other, as the nation and the world falls apart.
The world we are living in now is heavily influenced by false perception, and we are all being driven into division by it.
Brothers and sisters, we must not give into the desires of the flesh, but must rely on the move of the Holy Spirit. Let us be mindful of the words that we use, and the perceptions that we harbor that drive them. Take a moment to consider others and the damage that words may have had on them. Build up purity of heart through prayer, bible reading, and surrender to the will of God.
Let us also remember to whom we belong. We are representatives of our Risen King. We are people with new heart, filled with an abundance of the fruit of the spirit.
We are a community full of hurting people, carrying baggage of past sin, and the effects of the sin of others on us. Those who are of the Forgiven have been given new hearts. We are to bring a new message.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.”
Psalms 19:14 NKJV
We who call upon the Lord for salvation have been given the message of the Gospel, the message that has the power to save the sinner from hell. Let us remember the power of our words, and the great potential they have. May we be ones who bring life to the dying as we encounter people each day.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Proverbs 18:21 NKJV