Out of the Mouth, the Heart Speaks.
I’ve always loved that verse, especially that particular part; out of the mouth, the heart speaks. Below are the verses in context.
33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.34“You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.35“The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.36“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.37“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
I believe one of my gifts is that I have the ability to see to the bottom of something…I can cut through the show, and see true character. If something isn’t right, I can with a clear mind, and like the memory of an elephant, articulate my point remembering everything leading up to whatever point I’m trying to make. I’d probably make a great attorney arguing my point, but I didn’t want to spend my life arguing with people, instead I became a Realtor…and decided to “negotiate” (argue nicely my point) for a living.
But without a tamed tongue and without a pure heart that gift to articulate a point can be abused and used to hurt, the tongue can also be used like a sword.
They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
When I was younger and up until college, prior to my understanding what a relationship with Jesus was, I’d let whatever came to my mind fly out of my mouth and I didn’t care if it was hurtful. I’d call anyone out and bring them face to face with things they didn’t want to talk about. I don’t get uncomfortable with uncomfortable topics and I stare awkward conversations in the face…I don’t back down when my feelings are hurt. I go to you; I confront you. Confrontation was like an art form to me and I was masterful at my craft.
But as I’ve been married, and as I’ve pursued my relationship with Jesus and learned what God really wants, I’ve definitely held back in letting my mouth flap untamed. So much comes to my mind and I want to show off how well I can weave this truthful tapestry with my tongue so that your jaw is laying on the floor…but then I remember what Jesus said…You can tell if a tree is good or bad by the fruit it produces. Jesus is a genius with this analogy. It doesn’t take any smarts to realize the truth in this statement. And so instead of just releasing every single thing that comes to mind…I tame it…I try to hold back. While I won’t allow myself to be a doormat, I work really hard to convey my feelings without bringing down someone else. I’m not always successful, but it’s my guide during confrontations.
If my mouth is the gateway to my heart, anyone can tell by talking to me what my heart is filled with. If your heart is filled with angst, anxiety and hatred, your mouth will let the world know. If you feel like everything is always bad, that people are always out to get you and nobody cares about you, these are lies from the ultimate deceiver…and a clue as to what your heart is feeling.
My cousin Mary has this brilliant quote on her Instagram…
And while it’s not a Bible verse, it’s got a lot of truth behind it. If your heart does not find identity in the one who created you, if you don’t know that God’s wonderful thoughts about you outnumber the sands on earth…If God’s not feeding your soul, who is? What is?
So about a month ago, when I was on the receiving end of a brutal tongue lashing in the form of several emails from someone, I wanted to puff up, and I did for a little bit, I defended myself, I wanted to right the wrong that was being put on me. But when the attacks continued, I decided to dis-engage. Who I am and what I am, is not what this person was saying. I know WHOSE I am b/c my identity is in Jesus, and he knows my heart and I know my heart. My husband knows my heart. And my heart is forgiving; my heart has forgiven those who have hurt it. And my heart doesn’t go into a situation intending to purposefully hurt someone. My heart is open for those who I love…and when your heart is exposed and it gets pulverized, it hurts a lot. I’m sure that’s why many people decide to live their lives with a wall up; a protective barrier around their heart, that way no one can see their real feelings and vulnerability is locked away, along with the real identity of that person. I’ll also say, if your heart has continually opened to a particular person and they don’t care for it, and they smack it around…eventually, a wall is built around that heart, too. And that’s how relationships suffer.
But I also realized that if someone’s words are being used to hurt me, maybe their heart is hurting…how do you engage a hurting person, who is hurting you? I don’t know.
I decided to dig into Proverbs. I love Proverbs b/c God says if you want wisdom, ask for it and it will be given to you. And Proverbs is where all the best wisdom resides.
In my Bible, Proverbs 4 is titled “Get Wisdom at Any Cost”
I love this verse…it’s so simple and matter of fact:
Proverbs 4:7 “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.” (How profound!) And it continues, “Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
Another verse that helped to guide me was Proverbs 5:12-14,
“A troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart—he always stirs up conflict.”
I don’t want to stir up conflict; I don’t want the fruit of my life to be rotten. I am so glad I have a husband who encourages me, doesn’t put me down and points me toward Jesus. And not only that, I have an amazing group of girlfriends, who have known me for 10+ years that do the same thing. And all of these people know my heart.
While I might not understand why conflict is at my doorstep, I know that Proverbs 3:5-6, which is one of my life verses, is always by my side,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”