“It is not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” — Matthew 15:11
The mean mowers on the job of my youth were just that—mean. These beaten-up, temperamental Bad Guys were especially belligerent on super-hot summer days when, if provoked, they’d spit boiling oil on you.
Here in Rock World (otherwise known as Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania), maybe the first 100 mega rocks you hit with one of the mean mowers didn’t cause you to curse, but the next 100?
Maybe you have a perfect mouth that only says perfect things. I don’t. But those mowers on the extended family’s Christmas tree farm where I worked taught me how reactionary I can still be. Rather than wait, I react.
Jesus gets this. The perfect child of God may have hit his thumb with a hammer in his dad’s shop, so he knew what instant pain was. He also knew that it was just that, instant.
Foul language continues to permeate our culture. I’m not just talking about the _____s and the _____s you hear or read in more and more places; I’m talking about how we treat each other with all of our words that, like the mower, are really just too hot.
Jesus says we are defiled by the words that come out of our mouths. We are not saints 24/7/365, but we can take his words to heart so that our words don’t hurt someone else’s heart and soul.
Sure, in the moment, this ____ing word comes to your mind, but it doesn’t have to leave your mouth. Just hold. Just wait. It will pass.
It takes time to learn bad language. It also takes time to unlearn it. But wait. Watch your words. Less hot oil. More peace.
PRAYER: Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3). Amen.