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“A Look at the Heart” #1 – A study of the Christian and Communications

06 Apr

god-is-loveThere’s an old Scottish saying that challenges our careless use of communication: “Heart your tongue!” It’s a rendition of the more common phrase “mind your tongue” but puts a biblical perspective behind it.

We all experience the excruciating pain of being misunderstood….and often it comes from those who are both ‘friend and foe.’ We try hard to say what we mean, and yet it’s amazing sometimes what people hear.

Is communication one of our greatest problems? Considering the misunderstandings, broken relationships, and hurting memories that fill our life with stress—I think it is at least one of them.

I am concerned, too, as this becomes very personal for this congregation…that Satan is going to work hard to hurt us because much is going well and a revival is taking place. If we don’t accomplish what God wants and needs us to accomplish in the next few months, it won’t be because of a ‘force from without but rather from within. It is my prayer that some of the coming lessons will help us make certain that this doesn’t occur!

I was told a story of a young girl who was going through a privacy phase in her household. In order to keep the family advised of her feelings, she made two reusable signs which she placed on her door (both describe a young peson in the midst of the vital process of learning how to communicate what’s on her mind and what’s on her heart):
· when she felt fiercely private: you cannot come in! That’s it!
· when she was more benevolent: Do not come in. I love you.

There are almost one million words in the English language, I am told, and we use them as tools for both building and understanding and weapons for destroying and deceiving.

Proverbs 10:19-20: “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. {20} The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.”

Proverbs 10:31: “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be cut out.”

Proverbs 11:12: “A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.”

Proverbs 12:18-19: “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. {19} Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.”

Proverbs 15:4: “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

This is the verse which seems to sum up the rest for me:
Proverbs 18:21: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Our words reveal something about our heart
Proverbs 4:4: “…he taught me and said, “Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live.”

Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Proverbs 7:3: “Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Proverbs 16:23: “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.”

Proverbs 22:17-18: “Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, {18} for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips.”

This one seems to sum up the rest:
Proverbs 27:19: “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”

Communication is an inside-out process. Our words, the tone of our voice, and our body language are outer expressions of our inner selves. Jesus put it this way:
Luke 6:45: “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

The primary speech organ is not the tongue—it is the heart! Deep down within our values, beliefs, and convictions—that’s where the words come from.

Sin Can Garble a Great Gift
The ability to communicate with God and with each other is one of our greatest gifts. But our sinfulness can garble that gift.

Just look at Adam and Eve in the garden…they enjoyed a perfect union with God until sin entered the picture through their willful choice:
· God comes to speak with them and they hide
· Adam seeks to shift the blame to Eve and implicates God (“this woman you put here with me”)
· Eve blames the serpent

But look at this book of beginnings:
· Cain murders his brother, Abel, and lies to God (Genesis 4)
· Men build the Tower of Babel as a monument to their egos and God confuses their language (Genesis 11)
· Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery, then deceive their father Jacob into thinking Joseph was accidentally killed (Genesis 37)

Luke 6:45: “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

Jesus rightly identifies the heart as the birthplace of our words. We can’t merely pass them off as insignificant (“Oh, that was no big deal…just something I said”) for they reveal what’s inside us.

Our sinful words create alienation from our Father and our spiritual family. Falsehood, unkindness, profanity….they cause great harm and put our soul into jeopardy.

Matthew 12:36-37: “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. {37} For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.””

It is said, “The spoon always seems twice as large when you have to take a dose of your own medicine.” In the light of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 12, we might paraphrase that truth, “Words which appear to be just tiny molehills of idleness and frivolity here will loom as mountains of error when we face them in the judgment!”

Not only the wicked utterances of the tongue will rise up against us in that day, but for every foolish, idle word we shall also be called to give a strict account!

Some illustrations and quotations
CBS released The Karen Carpenter Story. Karen died unexpectedly of heart failure at age 32 brought on by years of self abuse from the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa. But what brought on Karen’s fatal obsession with weight control? It seems a reviewer once called her “Richard’s chubby sister”. Lord, please help us to know the power of our words!

Contentious tongues have hindered the work of God a thousand times over.  Critical tongues have closed church doors. Careless tongues have broken the hearts and health of many people. The sins of the tongue have besmirched the pure white garments of the bride of Christ. – George Sweeting

Proverbs 26:18-19: “Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows {19} is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I was only joking!””

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2017 in Encouragement

 

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