January 21 I Saturday
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” —Luke 6:45
When a child goes to the doctor for a check-up, the doctor will almost always examine the tongue. He will tell the child to stick out his tongue by making an “ahhh” sound. While the child has his tongue out, the doctor is making a diagnosis on what illness the child may be experiencing. Similarly in the book of Proverbs, the tongue gives us a diagnosis of what is going on in our own life, as the tongue is simply the symptom, the expression of what is going on.
Proverbs gives us powerful images of the intimate relationship between speech and character. Proverbs 10:19 tells us, “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.” Proverbs 12:13 says, “Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk…” And Proverbs 16:27 says, “A scoundrel plots evil, and on their lips it is like a scorching fire.” Character determines speech, but speech feeds character. In the New Testament, James 3:5-6 explains, “The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.”
There is a fable about a king who asked his cook to prepare him the best dish in the world, and the cook served him a dish of tongue. Then the king said, “Now I want you to prepare me the worst dish in the world.” The cook served the king a dish of tongue. The king said to the cook, “I asked you to give me the best and the worst dish and you give me the same dish! What is this?” The cook responded, “Oh King, there is nothing as wonderful as a tongue that is wisely and kindly used, and there is nothing as devastating as a tongue that is carelessly and unkindly used.”
If we want to know the state of someone’s heart, we just have to hang around them long enough to hear what comes off of their tongue. After a while, all the politeness will be worn away and the person will start speaking naturally. We find what is going on in their hearts because what they say wells up from who they are. In fact, we could assert what they are influenced by, by what they say; in other words, our talking reveals the state of our heart.
May the words of the psalmist inspire our speech and character: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
Prayer: Dear Lord God, tame my tongue that the outpouring of my speech may be pleasing in Your sight. Cleanse my heart and make me pure. Thank You, Lord.