by Robert Berendt
We have all learned to say “I am sorry” or “I did not mean that” when we have spouted words that caused a backlash. We use the word “heart” to convey the makeup of a person’s character, beliefs and deep thoughts. We all have deep personal thoughts about one subject or another. Religion, politics, love, hate, racism, justice, fairness, greed, greatness and more – what’s deep within us. We learn to control how and when we express our opinions to some extent. Also, when to be silent and when to speak.
The Scriptures tell us that there is a time to keep silent or to speak (Eccl.3:7). Other verses tell us there is also a time to love or hate, keep or throw away, kill or heal. Knowing when that time is and acting in the right way is not always within our ability or character. Sometimes our emotions, thoughts, and feelings override common sense and we blurt out words that we wish we could take back. James wrote about the wisdom of the tongue and how difficult it is to control. He also wrote, though out of the same mouth proceed blessings and cursing, for Christians, it ought not to be this way (James 3:1-10).
Converted people are in the process of overcoming everything within them that would be displeasing to God. God is happy to help the sincere person find and conquer those wrong character traits. There is a wisdom that comes from above that assists a person in knowing what is right or wrong, holy or profane and choosing the right and holy is what develops the person overcome that which is wrong in our hearts. James wrote about the wisdom from above which opposes wisdom, which is earthly, sensual and demonic (James 3:13-17).
That wisdom from above is offered by God through the Scriptures, but it must be sought for, cherished and used to overcome the earthly wisdom that all people have developed through life. Jesus Christ who was Emmanuel (God with us) made some statements that cut right to the core of our inner problems. He informs us that what is buried deep inside of us is also revealed. Jesus’ intention is for us to change and correct all that is in us that is evil. He stated that a good man brings good things out of the good treasure of his heart and an evil man brings forth evil things. He clearly stated that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34-37).
We see this happening during and after almost every political campaign. Words are spoken and promises made simply to gain votes and be elected, but are not true promises from the heart. In a way, they show the true heart of the person who simply wants to be in power, no matter what it takes. They will say anything they feel will gain votes. God knows the connection between heart and words. His chosen people Israel did not
want to hear truth or words that were holy, just and pure. That was the set of their hearts. So they turned to smooth words – words that stroked the deep desires and wishes they had. They wanted the prophets to speak words to placate their hearts. Many prophets fell into the trap of pleasing the people rather that pleasing God and became false prophets. Isaiah noted the lying children that Israel became (Isa.30:9-11). In our hearts, there are buried true feelings and emotions on various subjects in life. We respond to what supports and appeases our desires and we reflect those desires in our own words. Lying is the expression of that which is not truly in our hearts. We lie to hide what we truly feel, for gain, or to achieve our deep desires. God expects us to change.
Jesus Christ was the light God sent to this world to teach that which is holy (John 1:4,9). God did not leave mankind in darkness. Humans, though, are deceived by Satan and have come to hate the light because they love darkness (John 1:10, 3:19). Humans love darkness because their deeds are evil. They see the need to cover their deeds to achieve goals such as power, wealth, control and all that satisfies the self. In our hearts there is the darkness that Satan has shed upon all the world. That darkness is revealed by what comes out of our mouths.
It is possible for a person to change their heart. We can come out of the darkness and into the light. Jesus Christ was sent to save the world (John 3:17). Humans will be judged by every idle word that comes out of their mouths because those words show the true deep inner values of a person (Matt.12:36,37). God knows every word we speak and He knows what is in our hearts. He offers the path to change, to become holy, just and good. That path comes through Jesus Christ and living a life of obedience to the laws of God. It is Christ who cleanses us from our sins and faults upon our repentance and it is God who works to overcome the evil in us by replacing it with good. It is by learning to love His laws that good grows in each person.
We will be justified by our words if those words are sincere words of repentance, belief, and obedience. When our words are lies, words used to coerce or mislead, they condemn us as the true intent of the heart is hidden from people, but never from God. God is interested in the heart of the person – that is the true inner man, his beliefs, character, virtues, and nature. God will make sure that nature is changed before the gift of eternal life will be given (2 Pet. 1:4). As the heart changes to what is wholesome and good, our words will reflect that. We will think before we speak, control what can hurtful to others or that does not reflect the true light Jesus was sent to bring.
People, have choices to make. We do recognize evil, but all too often our desires override our intention of taking the right path. We make the choice, but God admonishes us that our choice is more than just for the moment – it is a matter of life or death, blessing or cursing. Choose life!