“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”

For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.”
Matthew 15:8, 11, 19 NLT

You’ve heard people make the argument that it’s not what you say but what you do that matters. For example people can say, “I love you!” but their actions can prove other wise. Well what happens when a person says they love you, marries you then begins to say all kinds of crazy things, do hurtful things, all while they are going through the motions of a committed relationship? You know that they love you but disrespectful things keep coming out of their mouth. They have a heart problem.

Jesus’ disciples were being accused of not loving God because they didn’t ceremonially wash their hands before they ate. Jesus took up for them and said it wasn’t about clean hands but more about having a clean heart. The Pharisees were more concerned about keeping appearances than keeping their hearts pure. Jesus told them, “You are like sepulchers.” On the outside you are whitewashed stones but inside you are full of dead men’s bones!

If you really want to know what people are like listen to what comes out of their mouths. If you listen long enough people will tell you who they are.

  1. These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. People will show you who they are better than they can tell you. Over time the heart speaks louder than the lips. The words that come out in conversation, the words that are not spoken in defense of you, the actions that are not consistent with words; it will come out eventually, who people really are.
  2. It’s not what goes in you that defiles you but it’s what comes out of you that makes you unclean. Some people are so focused on religious appearances without focusing on inward transformation. You can keep all the rules and still be a mean-spirited person. Offense and bitterness inside a person will cause their love to grow cold.
  3. From the heart come all the evil things from a person not surrendered to Jesus. When people say and do unloving things it shows you that they are not really connected to the Holy Spirit who is the transformer of hearts. Can bitter water and sweet water come from the same source? You will know a tree by the fruit it bears. 

Don’t be fooled by flowers and candy. Listen for the heart. Out of the heart the mouth speaks. Don’t be locked into sugary speech listen for the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Don’t give into “I’m sorry” without seeing the “fruits of repentance.”  Time will tell you if what they are doing is matching what they are saying. It’s a heart thing!

Dear God,

Search my heart. The heart is deceitful above all things. Even when I think I’m coming from a pure place, ego is tinkering around with my motives. If you find anything in me that is not like you take it out so that what I say matches what I do. Give me a clean heart so that I can serve you and your people better.

In Jesus’ Name!