Tag Archives: Matthew 12:34-37

What are you storing up?

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.  Matthew 12:33-34

About two months ago, a second grade boy on the playground was involved in a kick fight on the playground. In the midst of a mean game tag that ended up with this boy and a couple of others kicking each other, he turned and kicked a kindergarten boy, an innocent bystander, and said, “F— you, little boy.”  The playground teacher brought him in for me to deal with him.

One of the things I talked to him about was his language.  I asked him when he began using words like that, and he said, “Last fall.”  I said if he could remember when he started using that word, he could remember when he stopped, because it’s a choice.  And today (that day) was the day he was going to make a choice to stop.  When I talked with his mom about the incident, I quoted this verse.  I knew she was a Christian.  I said something about him needing to get more good stored up in his heart, otherwise it’s those swear words that get stored up and come out at inconvenient times.

I talked with her about how going to church and singing worship songs stores us things in our hearts about God, His goodness, and our choices.  Those worship songs speak to our hearts.  Having those songs on in our vehicles and in our houses instead of other music is a chance to store up good things in our hearts.  I was thrilled when she told me that she was taking her boys to Sunday school and church about a month later.  Even though her husband wasn’t going, which had been her deterrent all of the previous years, it wasn’t going to be anymore.  Praise God!

Yesterday in Sunday school we talked more about Matthew 12:33-34 as we discussed again Brad Bigney’s book: Gospel Treason, Betraying the Gospel with Hidden Idols.  On page 60, Bigney makes the statement, “I’ve been shocked at things that have come out of my mouth–things that I’ve been forced to trace back to my heart.  It’s been a wake-up call, a sledgehammer for self-deception, because we always think we’re doing better than we really are.”

I think the reason bad things come popping out of our mouths is because they have been stored up in our heart.  We can have a “resentment warehouse,” where we keep all of our offenses, our bitternesses, grievances and unresolved conflicts.

Think about it.  Let’s say someone does something to offend you and you never resolve it.  You always remember it.  You might forget the dozens of nice things that person says or does, but you remember the one time that he or she had a birthday party and didn’t invite you (or whatever it was).  You never talked about it with that person, instead you ‘let it slide.’  But you really didn’t let it slide, you tucked it away in that resentment warehouse.

resentment warehouse.jpgAnd then, one day when you’re tired, or your guard is down, or you’re not feeling well, and–boom!  You say how you really feel.  You both look at each other like, “Where did that come from?”  Sometimes it comes out through sarcasm, or it comes out through passive aggressive moves, through back stabbing comments, or through some other destructive move.  And you have to trace it back.  Sometimes you can trace it back, sometimes you can’t.

In the case of the resentment warehouse, it isn’t necessarily evil that is stored up, like the boy that shouted out, “F— you, little boy.”  We might not call it evil, but it is.  Ephesians 4:30-32 reads, Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

It’s time to clean out your warehouse.

 


What’s in your heart?

Power Verses: Matthew 12:34b-37

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person out of his good hearttreasure 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.

Have you ever just sat and listened to people talk?  Some people can’t go a sentence without lacing their speech with profanities.  Others can’t go long without cutting someone else down, usually someone not in the room.  And then there are those who talk on and on either about themselves, or something very surface just to keep control of the conversation.  As you sit and listen, begin to try to guess what that person’s spiritual condition is, based on what they’re saying.  You can tell what is in people’s hearts by what they say for sure.

Now think about yourself.  Do your words reflect that Jesus in in your heart?  Only Jesus can change our hearts by His transforming work.  If you’re looking to see your words changed, call out to Jesus to change your heart.  But there are things we can do in that transformation project.  What we fill our minds with gets stored up in our hearts.  If you fill your mind with Scripture and things that are uplifting, that is what will come out.  But if you watch garbage shows on TV and hang around people who curse everyone and everything, that’s what comes out of your mouth.

The other thing that can get stored up in our hearts is bitterness and resentment.  If you let wrongs that others have done to you sit and stew inside of you, angry and bitter words come out.  Ephesians 4:31 picks up on that, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”  That means resolve the issues that hang around and pull on you.  Forgive and work through unfinished business, lest the bitterness that gets stored in your heart comes tumbling out of your mouth.

Ephesians 4:29 gives us a challenge: “Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  (NIV)  That is a challenge to apply that takes self control to not say things that need not be said.  And then it takes intentionally speaking good things to others, things that will build people up and benefit their needs.  And when you do that, the day that you stand before Jesus and give account for your words will be a proud day.