Summary: The words of ones mouth are evidence of what is in the heart
Text: Ephesians 4:29 – 5:2
By: Ken McKinley
I’m sure we’ve all heard the old saying, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.’ WRONG!
Sticks and stones may cause bruises, they may even break your bones, but those things can heal up. But hateful, harsh words can stay with a person for years and years, and sometimes even a lifetime.
Speech is a wonderful gift from God. Our ability to speak is so important to God that He designed a large portion of our brain activity to be involved in language skills. Something like 50% of the volume of our brain is involved in language skills. Knowing what to say, how to say it, articulation, voice inflection…
And the way that we handle our mouths is a reflection of the way we view God.
We’ve already gone over several of the things that Paul tells us we should put away because we are now in Christ. He’s told us that we should put away lying and tell the truth. He tells us we should put away sinful anger. But now he’s telling us to watch what we say and how we say it. The Puritans used to have a saying that went, “We know the various types of metals by their tinkling, and various types of men by their talking.”
The Bible says, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” This doesn’t just refer to obscene language, but it can also refer to cynicism, hurtful words, slanderous words – words that are untrue or meant to damage a persons reputation.
THREE PASTORS ILLUSTRATION
Drunk, Embezzler, Gossip.
When we use our words to hurt another person, when we speak with anger, or words to belittle another person, or when we use foul language, what we are doing is showing the world what’s in our hearts.
I’m also sure we’ve all heard the old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” WRONG AGAIN! If you can’t say anything nice then check the condition of your heart and REPENT.
Paul ties the words we say in with our relationship with the Holy Spirit. Are you attacking other Christians with your words? If so you are attacking people God has chosen to be part of His family. To be grieved involves love. If someone you don’t love offends you, then you aren’t grieved, you’re angered. But if it’s someone you love who offends you, it breaks your heart.
You see, the same Holy Spirit that has sealed you has also sealed other believers for the day of redemption. But when our words are meant to hurt, or to tear a person down, we are attacking a person that has the Holy Spirit dwelling within them.
Paul goes on to tell us that we should put away bitterness, anger, wrath, clamor, and evil speaking.
And again Paul not only tells us what not to do, but what we are to replace those sinful things with. We are to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving of one another. Kindness is the opposite of bitterness; instead of holding grudges, and looking to do damage to someone, it seeks to make amends, and to heal relationships.
Compassion or tenderheartedness is the opposite of rage and wrath. Instead of looking to hurt people and do them harm; tenderhearted people are always looking for ways to help people and show them kindness. Forgiveness covers all these things. And we should always be quick to forgive because we ourselves have been forgiven.
Every time we do not forgive we are putting ourselves in the place of God. Think about that for a minute; if God can forgive a person then who are we to say that we can’t?
I think that the problem we have is that we want God to start with the person who has offended us, rather than with us. We want God to make them change first, but it doesn’t happen that way. Jesus didn’t make you change before you were saved, He changes you after you are saved. Yes… it’s true, He doesn’t leave you in your old lifestyle, He expects change, we’ve already talked a lot about this, but even while you were yet a sinner, Christ died for you.
And so… all of our language and speech is a reflection of what’s really on the inside, whether that’s Christ, or self centeredness. Let me give you an example; if I get into an argument with my wife, it’s usually because we both think we are right about something. And so we use words to try and justify ourselves and show that we are right about something. Most people don’t say mean things just to be mean, they say them to either show that they are right about something, or to make themselves look better. And so often times our language is self centered and for self justification. And when we are in those types of situations, where we are tying to justify ourselves, or make ourselves look better than we are… it’s in those types of situations when the Gospel is farthest from us.