“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).
For Jesus, the words of our mouth reveal the truth of our heart. Or to put it another way, who we are is revealed by what we say. One of the surest ways to really find out who someone is is by listening to what they say. Charles Spurgeon hits the nail on the head when he says:
More of a man is seen in his words than in anything else belonging to him; you may look into his face and be mistaken, you may visit his house and not discover him, you may scan his business and misunderstand him; but if you hear his daily conversation you shall soon know him. The heart babbles out its secret when the tongue is in motion.
The concept is simple enough, but the application is where things get real serious really quickly. For instance, if I were given a written transcript of everything you said in the span of one week, what would I learn about who you are? What would your week’s worth of words reveal about who you are? Would it frighten you if someone had a word for word account of everything you said in private and public this past week? Think about it.
In helping us go one step further, allow two questions to help apply Jesus’ words.
How do I speak to people? My family, friends, teachers, colleagues? The strangers I meet, waiters who serve me, baristas who make my drink?
How do I speak about people? How do I talk about my wife, my siblings, my co-workers, my church, my neighbors, my friends?
Often times we try to separate what we do or say from who we are. We say things like, “I am a good person, I just have a foul mouth” or “I am really a good guy, I just do bad stuff.” But Jesus categorically denies silliness like that. He cuts straight to the issue: what you do and what you say prove who you are. If we are honest, often, our sanitized self-images often come crashing down by a sober examination of what comes out of our mouths. It is only then, when we realize the depth of our evil, will we come to Christ for what we need; not new words, but a new heart.