“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” – Matthew 15:11
18 But the words you speak come from the heart – that’s what defiles you.
19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.
20 These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”
You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.
Why did you spill the coffee?
“Well because someone bumped into me, of course!”
You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.
Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.
Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.
Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.
So we have to ask ourselves… “What’s in my cup?”
When life gets tough, what spills over? Joy, gratefulness, peace, and humility? Or anger, bitterness, harsh words, and reactions?
You choose! (HeySuccess.com, August 27, 2018)
People tend to focus on externals: appearance, cleanliness, attractiveness, weight, external flaws, or the lack thereof, or pigment of the skin. In the days of the Lord Jesus Christ, religious leaders were highly absorbed and preoccupied with externals, while totally ignoring what really mattered, the internals, the matters of the heart.
23 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law – justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”
24 “Blind guides! You strain your water, so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel!”
25 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy – full of greed and self-indulgence!”
26 “You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.”
27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs – beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.”
28 “Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
REFLECT & PRAY
The words that come out of our mouths indicate what is in our hearts.
Father encourage and enable me to reverse the terrible trend of evil that is lurking in my heart and fill my cup with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation, kindness, gentleness, and love.
When James speaks of the tongue, he is not referring to the physical organ itself, but rather to what it produces: words and speech. The Scriptures warn us time and time again by example and explicit instruction of the need to control our words.
2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth.
4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong.
5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.
6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!
11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?
12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.
Heretofore, James analogies were indirect similes: one thing is like another thing. “Here his use of analogy becomes direct, through metaphor; one thing is another thing. The tongue is ‘a fire’” (Richardson).
“The little spark is the cause of the entire destructive event of a forest fire. The tongue is the point of entry for the world’s greatest evils. Its boasts inspire multitudes to evil . . . the wickedness of the world is an immense blaze set by the little fire of the tongue” (Richardson).
James 3:6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
James personifies hell and recognizes it as an active force that stimulates and inflames abusive, destructive words. James is saying that hell itself burns within us. Hell is seen as an active agent that impels vicious, abusive, demeaning, mocking, hateful, violent, often curse filled, uncontrolled words, and tongue lashings.
What ultimately is responsible for the words we blurt out in uncontrolled moments?
Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
Sadly, it is the content of our hearts. Whatever is in our hearts bursts forth. We alone can prevent the destructive fires our words produce. It is incumbent upon each child of the King to take responsibility and work to change the content their hearts. But it is an uphill battle! But by the grace of God, it is a battle we can win.
5 Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.
7 He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.”