Proverbs 15:7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright.
In one of Aesop’s Fables, a donkey walking through the woods finds the skin of a lion. Hunters had killed the lion and left the skin to dry in the sun. The donkey put on the lion’s skin and was delighted to discover that all the other animals were terrified of him and ran away when he appeared. Rejoicing in his newfound respect, the donkey brayed his happiness—only to give himself away by his voice. The moral of the fable was clear: fine clothes may disguise, but silly words will disclose a fool.
What we say comes from our hearts. We are accountable for what we say, and we are accountable for what is in our hearts. Jesus said that “by your words you are justified and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). He was not suggesting that by saying the right words people can be made righteous. Rather, He was explaining to the Pharisees that their words reflected what was in their hearts. Their words would either show that they were righteous, having righteousness in their hearts, or their words would show their unrighteousness. The Pharisees’ words were evidence that they had rejected Jesus. Jesus tells them that they can’t hide what is in their hearts. It shines through for everyone to see.
Matthew 12:37 is a good reminder for all of us to listen carefully and to be accountable for what we say, as our words reflect our hearts. Jesus exhorted people to let Him change their hearts and make them righteous. We are similarly called to be born again by believing in Him. As we grow in our knowledge of Him, the way we think, feel, and talk will change. The Pharisees refused to learn that, and they needed to hear that “by your words you will be condemned.”
As I go through this day, dear Lord help me to praise you for your goodness and trust your guidance. Teach me to speak words that build up instead of tearing down. I ask that any conversations I have will bring joy and honour to you, God. In Jesus name, amen