Photo credit @h_alawadhy via Twenty20
“It is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:46
Let those words sink in for a minute. I find them rather sobering, personally.
Many folks will choose “Taming the tongue” as their new year’s resolution. It’s an admirable goal, and more than a little challenging. The writer of James doesn’t call the tongue “a restless evil, full of deadly poison” for nothing!
In the past year, maybe more than in any other, I’ve been struck by the power of words and the all too careless way they are tossed around for immediate satisfaction with very little thought of long term or collateral damage.
Maybe we all need to put this resolution at the top of our list.
A friend of mine shared a Facebook post last week with a great analogy. Where it actually originated, I don’t know.
Imagine you are holding a cup of coffee and someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm and makes you spill your coffee everywhere.
You could say that you spilled the coffee because someone bumped into you. But the truth is, you spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup. If there had been water in your cup, you would have spilled the water.
*Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.*
Taming the tongue is not just a matter of biting our tongue, of not saying what we want to say. That’s hard enough, most days.
Taming the tongue is not wanting to say it at all, those words that tear down rather than build up; words that come from a spring of bitterness or jealousy, anger or pride.
“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
The thing is, we often feel like we’ve got our words under control, that we keep a pretty good respectable lid on most of our mess, until suddenly we don’t. Until life comes along and bumps into us and things that we’ve thought and felt but knew better than to say come flying out like an overstuffed suitcase has just busted a latch.
Afterwards we can sit sheepishly on the floor and try to fold up our delicates and neatly place them back in the suitcase as if nothing happened, but, let’s face it, these days someone probably caught the scene on a smartphone. You’ll see that moment again.
So what’s in your cup, really? What spills out when life gets tough?
The good news is we have a choice. Over time, what spills out will be whatever we choose to put in, when it becomes the abundance of our heart.
Gratitude. Kindness. Compassion. Forgiveness.
How will you choose to fill your cup in 2018?
“Love the Lord your God with all of your HEART…” – Luke 10:27