7 day plan

The Power of Words

Day 4 of 7

NIV

Matthew 15:18-19

18But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

Reflection:  Jesus did not mince words as he ticked off the disciples for worrying about the ignorant criticism of the Pharisees. Their focus was on what we put into our mouths (judging food as clean or unclean). This was so irrelevant to Jesus, who was way more concerned about what comes out of our mouth, for that is what defines a person. Our words reveal our heart!

Remember James, in his letter, describes the tongue as “full of deadly poison”. Poison is mostly ingested. The destruction it wreaks is on internal organs. Likewise, poisonous words damage our hearts, minds, and souls. And today, we don’t have to speak those words. We can spew out our ‘restless evil’ in social media. We can send it quickly via fast moving fingers. We can write something, angrily, only to regret that foolish decision as it appears as a post.

I try to be intentional about my words…before I hit the send button of an email, I now pause and check that I have included proper greetings and care.

Question:  How can you be intentional about your words?

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, help me to know when it is right to speak words of admonishment along with words of encouragement. Our words can guide and correct. Help me to always act with right intent.

Days

Matthew 15:1-39

That Which Defiles

1Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

3Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

8“ ‘These people honor me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me.

9They worship me in vain;

their teachings are merely human rules.’

10Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

12Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

13He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

15Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”

16“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

29Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

32Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

33His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”

34“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.

“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”

35He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 38The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children. 39After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.