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Week 5:

Pure Tongue, Pure Heart

In the springtime my mother used to say, "Put out your tongue and let me see what it's like." She'd say, "Oh, no! You're not in good condition," and then she had some horrible concoction that we had to take. I wonder, if we had to put out our tongues at the end of each day if they would be unclean with gossip, slander, criticism, or bitterness? Or do we have them under control, as Paul says, "sound in speech which is beyond reproach"? (Titus 2:8) Is our speech always with grace, seasoned with salt?

I helped at a funeral once where there were several teenage children. They sobbed and groaned and carried on as I'd never seen anyone do at a funeral. I said to my senior pastor, "Oh, how much they loved their mother!" He said, "No, they're just crying in remorse. They were the most disobedient, backbiting, sarcastic children ever. They always abused their mother with their words. They gave her an awful time. They just cut her to pieces with their tongues." Many of us suddenly feel this same unbearable guilt when someone dies and we can't take back the words we've spoken or heal the wounds we've made.

This is a day when people are screaming about ecology. We want pure rivers and pure air. What about pure hearts? It's a pity we don't raise our voice in the Church and call everyone to recite Psalm 51 and cry with David, "Create in me a clean heart!" Or, as Wesley put it,
O for a heart to praise my God.
A heart from sin set free.
A heart that always feels the blood,
So freely shed for me.
A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My Great Redeemer's throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.

If Christ were speaking internally all the time, we wouldn't come out with the rubbish that we utter so much.

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