by Dawn Aldrich

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34

Words. I love words. I love creating a picture with words. I love writing and speaking words as much as a painter loves her color palate or a photographer loves the images created through his lens. Words have power over our lives like nothing else I know because we all use them. Words evoke reactions and emotions from the author/speaker as well as the reader/receiver. They encourage, love, give life and freedom as quickly as they discourage, hate, kill and enslave.

We cannot control the words that come at us but we can control what words come out of us. How? It’s a matter of the heart.

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings things out of the evil stored up in him (Matthew 12: 34-35).

Whatever our heart holds cannot be contained or hidden, but will spill out of our mouths. Try as we may to contain ourselves, in the heat of the moment, we speak what we really think. Our words, cultivated by the soil of our hearts, reveal the truth of everything we believe.

We’ve all said regrettable words. You know, those times when you heard something horrible coming out of your mouth and cringed, reached out, wished you could stuff the words back into your mouth before they reached the  listener’s ears.

Jesus warns us about careless words in the next two verses:

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned (Matthew 12: 36-37).

That’s powerful!

Jesus was addressing the Pharisees here, whose carefully crafted words attempted to entrap Jesus in a snare of trick questions. Jesus was warning them that they would be judged by their words because words reveal their true character. So too, with our words.

If we fill our hearts with the goodness flowing from a relationship with Christ, who is the ultimate lover of our souls, then our words will naturally be good, life-giving, a reflection of Him.

Oh Lord, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be from you. Take every thought, every word, every motive behind every word captive by your Holy Spirit, today.