“…for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45b ESV
Judging from what comes out of my mouth, you might not always see how black my heart can be. I’m usually pretty good at controlling my tongue. Especially in front of those who do not see me on a daily basis. So you might expect that my heart is much the same. Disciplined, thoughtful. But you would be wrong.
The truth is, I’ve worked to tame my tongue, but at the cost of my heart. It wasn’t intentional. I thought I was doing the right thing.
I’ve held my tongue and smiled at the person whose attitude I didn’t like or whose personality grates against mine.
I’ve held my tongue and remained silent to the person whose words hurt and wounded.
I’ve held my tongue while lashing internal judgment upon myself.
I’ve held my tongue, but released the negativity inward. I’ve allowed my heart to hear the abuse I know better than to speak aloud. I’ve judged, condemned and abused myself and others in verbal attacks that only my heart has heard.
And so my heart has been poisoned again and again.
But that kind of poison does slip back out.
It slips out in my emotional outburst to my undeserving husband.
It slips out in my frustration with my children.
It slips out in the shape of my insecurities and fears.
It may even slip out in the disguise of pain and fatigue.
And yes, my heart is not all black. I know that. God has shaped and transformed so much of my life, my heart, my attitude. I am so grateful for the that, and I acknowledge His power over and through me.
But I am realizing how much damage I can do when I internalize negativity. I’ve felt justified in doing so because I was controlling my tongue. But the point of this verse is not to control the tongue first, but the heart first. When the heart is clean and pure, then the tongue will be too.
So, I’m choosing to accept the pain and hard work that will come as I allow God to clean up the poison in my heart. Practicing gratitude is helpful, but not enough. It’s time to start changing the internal dialogue as well.