What Do You Mean By What You Say?


Matt. 15: 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?  18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles.  19 For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.  20 These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”


The religious leaders were concerned about Jesus’ disciples breaking certain traditions, including that of hand-washing before they ate. It was a ritual that cared for the external body but Jesus was more concerned about the internal. Washing hands might take care of the physical but it did nothing to cleanse the leaders of what was going on in their hearts and minds.

Standing to the side and being critical of those who didn’t do everything “right” was easy. The religious leaders' mouths were filled with condemnation and arguments — but they did still wash their hands. Jesus knew that their hypocrisy. Their words had become destructive, revealing a torrent of evil intentions. What did they mean by what they said? They meant to murder Jesus with their words! And they did, for ultimately got their way.

It was the words of the religious folks which defiled them, and not their acts. Their words became deadly as they were used to destroy the reputation and character of the Messiah.


Words have always been powerful and we are warned of this time and again in the Scripture. It’s hard to imagine how quickly rumors spread in Jesus’ day. They didn’t have phones on which to text, nor did they have Facebook or Twitter. And yet, words were powerful and yes, even dangerous. How much more so today when a simple comment can set off a fire-storm of controversy. It doesn’t even have to be true but you can never get the words back again.

What do you mean by what you say, post or tweet? What is really coming from your heart?

Sometimes it’s hard not to get sucked into the vortex of conversation on social media but I believe the word speaks to us — even today — about the dangers! It’s not the things that we “do” in the name of Jesus that reveal who we really are — it’s what comes out of us.

What do you mean by what you say? You are telling the whole world is what is in your heart and you are revealing the way in which your heart judges others.


Lord, may your Spirit shape my heart. Amen.


  1. A helpful word for me today! Thanks, Carla.
    (found via Priscilla Hammond)

    1. David, thank you! Very grateful for you and all that you do.


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