What comes out of our mouths on a regular basis? Are we speaking life into situations and people or are we speaking death? Are we missing the mark as far as recognizing what words or actions would be most helpful and encouraging at any given moment?
In Matthew 15:16-20, Jesus explains how what comes out of our mouths is of greater importance than doing what appears to be the right thing as He addresses His disciples about the Pharisee’s criticism: “Do you not see whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.”
Let’s not just look into the mirror of the Word today and forget what we have seen after we leave.
We have a great opportunity to learn from what He is saying here. Let’s not just look into the mirror of the Word today and forget what we have seen after we leave. Let us allow it to impact our hearts and minds, as well as the lives of others. The Pharisees were continually scrutinizing what Jesus said and did or did not do based on the law. They failed to see the real importance of God’s commands and chose to view their age-old traditions as the primary focus of their lives. They missed the whole point!
Jesus was and is more concerned with our hearts than our performance and He is certainly much more concerned that we set our minds on the things of God, not on the things of man. (Matthew 16:23) I am reminded of the time when my husband and I visited a church and upon being greeted by an older gentleman, he asked us if we were saved. I responded ‘yes’ and at the time my husband was an atheist so he answered ‘no’. To which, the man immediately responded, “Your marriage will never last.” This man thought he was doing his duty for the Lord by speaking critically over our marriage. Could he not see that we had come to church together? He missed a great opportunity to encourage us but rather out of tradition, not even from a scriptural standpoint, he proceeded to speak a curse over our lives. He had missed the point altogether because his eyes were focused on the things of man.
As Jesus addressed the Pharisee’s concern about hand washing he made it very clear that they were missing the point: “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’” (Matthew 15:3-4)Their mouths revealed that they were only thinking of themselves in their attempt to do the right thing. They were trying to catch Jesus up and prove him wrong, all for the sake of their own law. How often do we criticize others while they are speaking, weighing what or how they said something, trying to catch them up in some fault. Christians too can be Pharisees in practice.
Will we expose our hearts to the scalpel of the Word, in order that we would be wholly honoring to our Father in Heaven by honoring others with our mouths?
Are we quick to criticize and slow to show the love of God, thinking that we will not be honoring our Father in heaven if we don’t say something for fear that we will “miss an opportunity”? Or are we looking for opportunities to point out in others, with our speech, what we see that is good and glorifying to our Father? Thankfully the lovingkindness of the Father indeed led my husband to repentance despite the efforts of a modern day Pharisee.
When we honor others with our mouths we honor God in heaven. So let us look into the word of God which is quick and powerful and sharper than any double-edged sword, able to penetrate and divide the thoughts and intents of our hearts so that we will be a well-spring of encouragement and grace to those around us. As women of God we have a great responsibility and opportunity to encourage those around us. All too often we look for what is “not right” in other’s lives and we miss the opportunity to show real genuine love, the kind of love Jesus displayed toward a Canaanite woman later in Matthew 15. Jesus forsook the view that the house of Israel took precedence over all other people, and He listened to what came out of the woman’s mouth and recognized the faith that was in her heart.
“But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ And he answered, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.” Matthew 15:25-28
Will we choose to be sanctified by His powerful Word in order to expose our traditional patterns of thought that are contrary to a mind of the Spirit? Our thoughts come from our heart and they affect our attitudes and speech as well as our approach toward others. Will we expose our hearts to the scalpel of the Word, in order that we would be wholly honoring to our Father in Heaven by honoring others with our mouths? Lord, help us not miss the point!
Karen Savage wants to live in a world where Christ is Glorified. When she's not serving her family, you can find her serving others. Her favorite Scripture is John 15:7-8 ESV.