We talked easily at first, but my Mama had taught me to look at the person I am speaking to. Anything else was rude. So I kept swinging my head over to look this lady in the eyes as we spoke. Meanwhile, behind her the scenery was whizzing by. We were in hilly country as well. Between the up and down, the extra swing of the backseat on the curves, and looking over to the side to engage my fellow passenger while the trees and buildings and flashing neon signs sailed past behind her head, I was coming close to a crisis that no one in the car would have wanted. Finally I leaned back and looked forward, concentrating on keeping my head perfectly still while attempting to control my ready-to-heave stomach. And said, "I'm sorry, Barbara. I can't look at you any more—it's making me sick."
I was so lost in my misery that I had no idea how that had come out until I heard a gasp and a low, "Well!" Of course I was mortified. I explained and she understood and all was okay—I think. We all understand when things like that happen with no ill-intent and no malice in the words uttered. We also make allowances for people who are in various states of discomfort, either physically or emotionally. As the piano player for scores of weddings, I have had my head bitten off more often than I can count. The mother-of-the-bride is usually stressed out and walking an emotional tightrope. It's part of the job for me to put up with things like that in a kind and equitable manner. On the other hand…
As a preacher's wife and a Bible class teacher I have had many occasions to hear things that, to put it bluntly, should never have been said. Not to me necessarily, although sometimes they were. They simply should never have come out of the mouth of someone claiming to be a disciple of Christ, a servant of the Master, a child of God. Period. This is what God's Word has to say about the matter:
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person (Matt 15:18).
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).
The words of a wise man's mouth win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him (Eccl 10:12).
You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned (Matt 12:34-37).
I think that's enough to get the point. No matter how we protest, our words show what it is in our hearts. God said it. The Lord Himself said it. The Holy Spirit had it penned far more than just once. "I didn't mean that!" is usually a false claim, no matter what we think because the words we spoke could never have been spoken if they had not first lived in the heart.
I have a list of things I have heard said by Christians over the years that literally stopped me in my tracks. I didn't really start "collecting" them until I had heard a dozen or so and it suddenly made sense to try to do some teaching with them. Surely people will become more careful in what they say if these things are pointed out, right? And more important, repentance will result in changed hearts, which will fix the problem almost immediately for that is the source of these words, as we have seen. At least that is my aim here. I heard some of these nearly fifty years ago, so please don't immediately think I am talking about you. I am talking to all of us, including myself. Our words give us away oh, so many times! (So do our children!) And really, many of these have been said by more than one person in more than one place, so it's a larger problem than we might think.
I will be starting this series with the above title in the near future. They will not be appearing on a regular schedule, just when I have an opening for them. Meanwhile, join with me in praying the following prayer today:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer (Ps 19:14).