“What Comes Out?”
By Pastor Jerry Donovan
These days that we are living in, God is testing each and everyone of us. A very wise man sent this to me as food for thought which I now pass on to you. “I’ve had a lot of pain in my life. In fact, almost everything I’ve learned in life, I’ve learned through pain. I’ve learned nothing from pleasure. I’ve learned very little from success. But I’ve learned a great deal through pain. God is more interested in making me a man of God than he is in making me comfortable. And God is more interested in making you a man or woman of God than he is in making you comfortable in the short-term, ensuring that you will be comfortable for all of eternity in heaven.”
The beginning of Chapter 15 in Matthew has Jesus, his disciples, and the Pharisees engaged in a heated discussion about the tendency of the disciples to not wash their hands before eating.
It is hard to tell the exact circumstances for this, but it seems safe to assume that at least sometimes this is because Jesus and his disciples are given food by those they are serving and they graciously accept it. Not wanting to pass judgment on the gift or the giver, they respectfully eat what they are given. The Pharisees do not like this. We probably do not like this either. How often do we reach for our hand sanitizer and spread it all over before we accept food offered to us – if we accept it at all?
Jesus takes advantage of the situation to open up one of his most important correctives on the legalistic following of the Old Testament Law. Jesus suggests to the Pharisees, as well as to the disciples, and I believe, to us as well, that what comes out of the mouth is more important than what goes in.
He teaches on this in the Book of Matthew 15:10-20 NET when he pointedly declares: “Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defiles a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile”. What comes out of the mouth is far more important than what goes in.
Living in Van Horn for over 25 years I have learned that the favorite sport of the people is not football or baseball, it’s gossip. And why not when our elected leaders’ favorite answer is, ”Some people say…” fill in the blank.
In the NET Bible Book of Proverbs states in 16:28, “A perverse person spreads dissension, and gossip separates the closest friends.” And in 20:19, “The one who goes about gossiping reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with someone who is always opening his mouth”. While 1 Timothy 5:13 says, “And besides that, going around from house to house they learn to be lazy, and they are not only lazy, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things they should not.”
Just like my Mother said, “If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.” Your gossiping and slander destroys your relationships by destroying the trust other people have in you.