We have a homeless friend who spent time with us at church and who shared meals and Bible study with us several years ago when my daughter was 4. One time as we had a large group of rag tag folks all eating together in a restaurant on Sunday amongst the tables filled with suits and ties around us, our friend opened his mouth wide to display his meth destroyed teeth to my daughter and said, “This is why you need to brush your teeth.” This stuck with my daughter and she remembers to this day and is diligent in maintaining her beautiful smile.
Yesterday, we had a need come to us from a man whose teeth are in extremely bad shape and are abscessed to the point that he cannot eat. Drugs, especially meth, do horrible damage to a person’s teeth and body. But our lesson isn’t about homeless people’s teeth. Our lesson is about how sin and the influence of the world gives us rotten mouths.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. – Matthew 5:21-26 ESV
I wonder how many of us let things slip out of our mouths to touch the ears of others with things that are yucky, disgusting, vile, naughty, or inappropriate – things that do not glorify God?
And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” – Matthew 15:10-11 ESV
Words really do matter:
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? 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. 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.” – Matthew 12:33-37 ESV
So how do we need to repent today in our words? Will we have yucky mouths today that speak forth death into the lives of those around us? Will our mouths participate in the filthy ways of the world or will they serve the Lord?
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And 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. – Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV
If we are indeed followers of Christ, if we indeed have the Spirit of Truth abiding within our vessel, if our faith is alive and not dead, let’s clean up our conversations and bridle our tongues and have that old rotten conversation replaced with what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. Let’s let His Word be upon our tongues and let’s see this Good News go forth to the nations.