“For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart… By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:34a, 37)
What is righteousness? What is innocence? In Jesus’ teaching, they are a way of living brought about by a state of being. They are a representation of the true character of the heart, a revelation of who someone really is inside.
Jesus says that in the end, the righteous will escape judgment and receive rewards while the unrighteous will be punished. But what evidence will be presented in that divine tribunal? What will be the proof of the true state of our hearts?
It’s not the syllables that matter to God, it’s what they symbolize – the true condition of our hearts. Of course, He could simply reveal our hearts directly, so why does Jesus make this point about our words?
So that we can examine our hearts honestly, free from self-deception, and see where and how we need to change.
Do you speak angry words? Examine your heart to learn why. Do you joke crudely or unkindly? Examine your heart to learn white. Do you make light of everything, always playing the fool? Examine your heart to learn why, and as you do, ready yourself.
It might be time for a change.