Der Vasken's Sermon on November 11, 2018

Nov 13, 2018

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Here is a quote from the Bible we don't hear all that often:  "From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks."  This is another meaningful expression from the teachings of Christ himself.  "From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks."  In other words, what is in the heart sooner or later will be a part of our speech.   Speech--what we say--is the focus of today's message. 

We all saw and probably formed opinions about the exchange of words in the days and hours surrounding the elections of last week.  We tuned in and watched as:

  • Candidates argued against candidates;
  • Politicians argued against reporters;
  • And reporters argued back.
We listened to the heart-wrenching words of those grieving from personal loss as another meaningless, senseless shooting occurred--this time at a country music club filled with college students from two area Christian colleges.
  • We heard shouting from voters holding campaign signs near polling places;
  • We heard differences of opinions;
  • And we heard spontaneous speech-making and well-prepared speeches.
It was, can we say, free speech at its finest but also, free speech stretched very thin. I want to look at speech today by looking at the human tongue.  The tongue is possibly the most used part of the human body.  It has many muscles and nerve endings and taste buds.  We use it for taste and for eating.  It warns us if something is too hot or has spoiled.  We need it to manipulate the food in our mouths and we need it to form our words to speak.  The tongue is one of the busiest parts of the human body and it's one of the most powerful.

Today's Bible reading speaks about the power of the tongue and the power of speech.  It defines the tongue like a sword.  I think you know where this is going. If we think back on the past twenty-four hours of our day, there are a number of people, who we each have physically touched in some way or another--maybe with a handshake or a pat on the back.  But how many more people have we touched with our words?

With our words, we can give comfort and strength.  We can offer encouragement and lift someone up.  We can even sing our words because of our tongues, or we can hurt people and destroy reputations and spread suspicion and slander because of our tongues.  Our words can clarify or they can confuse and deceive.  Words can cause war or they can begin the process of peace.  Most of our contact with the world around us is through our words.  

I've come to realize over the years that what we say with our tongues can have more power than anything we can do with our hands or fists.  We can physically assault someone and their bodily wounds will heal in time, but if we verbally assault someone, our words can cut deeper and more permanently than even physical wounds.  Words can cut into the heart and soul of a person and those wounds don't heal easily.  

We have all experienced that, I know.  Remember the old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me."?  Well, that's not so true. We all know the pain words can cause.  If we steal a person's reputation or ruin his or her good name, those wounds can hurt for the rest of their lives and they may never get over it.  Can hurtful words be pulled back once they're out?  They usually travel on and on with us throughout life.  Once the words are out, they're out.

Now here come the Words of Jesus again.  "From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks."  This quote tells us that how we speak to and about others is an indicator of what is happening inside our heart.  Much of the year many of us observe and reflect about what's going on in the world around us--the culture, the media, the scandals, the violence, the illnesses and the politics that are out there in the real world.  But the fall season is a perfect time of the year to look at our heart and better understand what's going on inside.  Our words reflect what's inside our heart.

Remember these words: "From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks."  Are we using our words the way God wants us to--to heal and build up or are we using them to tear down and destroy?  God gave us our heart and soul and He put good words into them.  Those words are healing words, comforting words, helping words.  If spoken, those words will last a lifetime and they will always say the right thing.

  • It may not be the most popular thing.
  • It may not be the most elegant thing.
  • It may not be the most politically-correct thing.
But it will always be the right thing.  So as we listen to all the words on the news, from the politicians to the reporters, to the people spreading their thoughts all over social media, bring to mind these words spoken from the mouth of God himself: "From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks."  Words to remember and live by and may our week ahead reflect this.

Amen.