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Matthew quotes some rather sobering words of Jesus in his gospel. Matthew 15:18 states, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.”

Those words hit hard for me because my mouth is often my biggest enemy. I think it safe to say that most of the time I’m in trouble it’s not because of my actions, it’s because of my mouth. Jesus’ brother, James offers no help. He points out the dichotomy of both fresh water and bitter water coming from the same well.

Cleaning up our language is treating symptoms, not causes. The root of a foul mouth is a dirty heart. There. I said it. I don’t like it, but from my knowledge of scripture I believe it to be true.

We use God’s name in vain because we fail to see him as he is. We ridicule others because we fail to see them as creations of God. Yep. Even the guy who cut you off. Even the sports official who is totally oblivious to the rules of the game. Even the server at the restaurant that is more interested in their phone than your empty drink glass. We make off-color jokes because our brand of holiness is governed by culture, not the plum line of a Holy God.

The worst part about words unwisely spoken is that you can’t reverse the results. You can be forgiven, but poorly chosen words are like a cancer to the soul. They can lie dormant for years but are always lurking in the memory banks of time.

Holy God, forgive us for the wounds unwise words have caused. Cleanse our hearts so that the words we speak build up where lives have been torn down. Heal the wounds we bear at the tongues of others. Amen


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