My great uncle was an evangelist and would travel all over to preach and several times a year he would be in our town holding services so obviously we would go. He was very much the stereo-typical southern preacher. MAN, he would get to going and hands would be flying, pacing all over the elevated platform where the pulpit was located. This was back before churches had PA systems so preachers had to speak up and for him, that was ABSOLUTELY NOT an issue. I was pretty young and I will be honest, other than little bits and pieces of sermons I really couldn’t tell you what he actually preached about. For the kids that were dragged along, and honestly, not unwillingly as my great-aunt always had some kind of treats in her purse so we would “fight” over who sat next to her. Beyond that, there was a certain entertainment value as my great uncle had dentures, false teeth, and when he would get to going and was preaching hard, he would get to something that he really wanted to emphasize, but the dentures were not quite fitted properly and he hated using the adhesive, so mid-sentence at times they would pop out. No, pop out isn’t strong enough, they would SHOOT out of his mouth. Now, we had learned about him doing this and we waited and waited and no matter what we were doing, we all knew the sound of his voice when he was getting more fired up preaching, so we would start watching and then, POW, out of his mouth the teeth would come and then in a blink of an eye his hand would come out, he would point at the congregation than open his hand, grab his teeth and slap them in. Many times it happened and the kids that knew would be waiting, giggle and otherwise, most had no clue that anything had happened. Many of the adults didn’t know it was a frequent occurrence but if you watched closely you could see it happen. But, it was amazing how slick he was at not just catching his teeth and putting them back in, but that he could coordinate his gestures with that movement and rarely even miss a word. But, whether or not he caught the teeth (and I never saw them hit the floor) his mouth still got ahead of itself.
Unfortunately, not everything that comes out of one’s mouth is as easily put back. What is said makes a difference and can have significant impact. Words spoken in anger, frustration, or out of ignorance can’t be put back.
16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
I always had thought this meant words but words (mostly because I only read one verse) are not the only way we communicate with others; We also use tone of voice, body language, our eyes and actions. Who hasn’t heard the saying “actions speak louder than words”? So our actions and behavior can defile us as much as what is said.
I also was thinking on words that may be spoken in anger at times and those words can be pretty harsh and hurtful. But the more I think about it, the more I realize it’s the insincere but kind words and actions that are far more hurtful to others and as such defile us more than angry words.
At least for me, words spoken in the heat of the moment can be more easily forgiven than the deceptive words and actions from one telling you kind things or doing nice things for you only to learn the nice was only a way to try to get something for themselves. Essentially such words and deeds are lies and the way those who behaved as such treat someone cuts deeper and hurts more than harsh words, much like a sharp knife cuts deeper than a dull knife and while the dull knife wounds hurt more initially the wounds from a sharp knife take much longer to heal. And one who speaks and acts kindly with a hidden agenda that is their only true priority hurts more when the truth finally comes out and as such is much more defiled than one who speaks harshly.
He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. Psalms 101:7
The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2:8
I suspect we have all been guilty of defiling ourselves with our words and actions and far more likely than not we have all one way or another been to one degree or another at least a little deceptive in our words and deeds. We have all been nice to someone to serve ourselves, said nice things or acted like we were their friends to waiters, maybe a car salesman trying to sell a car, and such. And I suppose society has taught us to do so. I don’t say one should treat someone badly because they don’t know them, we should treat all others kindly. But doing or saying things to give one false hopes and expectations only to cast them aside is wrong and far more wrong than a lot of other ways one can mistreat others.
8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
1 Peter 3:8-12
If course, none of that is how Christ wants from us. He wants us to be honorable, behave towards others as we want to be treated and to not say or do things that defile us, and for Christians, because we are representatives of Him, in a way those actions define Christ as well. Such words and actions from Christians reflect on us and Christ.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. John 13:34
That verse kinda says it all about what He expects of us. Most of the things we do to others would not be done or said if we remembered that verse.
Lord, I worship You for all that You are and praise Your name. I thank You for teaching how to be a better Christian, reminding me of things I learned, or should have learned, long ago. I ask in the name of Jesus that You continue to help me grow in Christ, that I remember that what comes out of me affects me, impacts others and most importantly reflects on Christ. Help me say, act, behave in the manner that brings positive attention to Jesus and the impact He has had in my life. Help us all learn to do the best we can to make right any wrong things we have said or done and to avoid doing such things to defile ourselves in the future. Draw us all closer to You so we can spend eternity with Christ.
I hope all are well, a lot of places with some bad roads due to snow. Thank You for your visit. Hoping for blessings for all and that all do their best to be a blessing to at least one other person today.