Jesus clearly taught evil and sin is not what goes into our mouths but what comes out of it from the abundance of the heart. (Matthew 15:17-18)
Clinton, Bush, Sanders, O’Malley, Paul, Huckabee, grilling, bashing, debunking, soliciting, accusing, claiming, peaking, raging, flip-flopping, pledging. And we still have such a long way to go.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
When did lying and “manipulating” facts and mudslinging become commonplace? When did we become a nation that expects and accepts it as the norm? When did we become okay with “the lesser of two evils?” Exactly when did our standards for service in public office rank lower than our standards for cable TV service?
When did divisional politics become more important than the unity of believers?
And to the politicians: when did your agenda or your desire to win become more important than His message of love and relationship? When did sarcasm become more important than encouragement? When did stepping stones become more important than servanthood?
What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (Ephesians 4:25, 29)
Are you determined to have your own way, or determined to be identified with the love and grace Jesus poured out on you when he cleaned your slate and brought you into the family of God? Do you still have ears to hear, or are you using your mouth in a way that drowns out the sound of the Holy Spirit?
There’s a story one of my pastors told last weekend at church that seems relevant here.
The captain of a ship looked out into the dark of night and saw a faint light in the distance. He immediately told his signal man to send a message, “Alter your course ten degrees south. You are headed straight for us.”
Promptly a message came back, “Alter your course ten degrees north. You are headed straight for us.”
The captain was angered. He immediately returned communication. “Alter your course. I am the captain.”
Once again communication returned. “Alter your course. I am a seaman third class.”
The captain was now incensed. “Alter your course! We are a battleship!”
The response came. “Alter your course. We are a lighthouse.”
I tell you, on the day of judgment, people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)