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Matthew 15:10-20 Pit Falls of Speaking JUMC 08142011

10 Then Jesus called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12 Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.”15 But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16 Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 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.”  -NRSV

Just Keep ‘IT’ to Your Self

  • For some the default is to take this parable’s teaching to the extreme.
  • These folks will keep their mouths and hearts closed so tightly that prefer to err on the side of not speaking, rather than say the wrong thing.
  • But what does it feel like to keep something inside, something that should not eat at your own heart for keeping quiet.

Yes, there is a place for confidence, trust and secrets.. these are not what the parable is addressing.

  • Jesus is teaching about what needs to be shared or told.

Think about the things that have come out of your mouth in the last 24 hours: There are a sets of tools that help us learn to communicate well.

  • Some tools prevent good. For example when we focus on blame, sarcasm, and assumptions that close hearts, minds and doors.
  • Some tools are information only. Details, information, facts and figures, which in theme selves are not communication, but can either help or hinder what we say.
  • Finally there are tools and methods that promote good conversation. When we hear from the other person’s perspective, when we let others know we hear them independent of judging them. When we work toward agreement that is not coerced.
  • The catch is that we generally carry more tools from the first bag of resources and give up before we reach the third one.
Sometimes there is more to be said, but is it the truth?

If you have visited a National Park website lately, you will find new educational resources that give a more afro-centric account about the significance of historical markers and events at the park. Now, this is a tricky business. Because the task is not to re-write history, rather to add more voices to complete the pictures we have of our common history.Jesus is primarily talking, not about politics, rather our faith message to the world:

  • We have almost no religious restrictions on our diets. The only one has been a request of Methodist to choose to abstain from drinking alcohol. “I thought we were the all things in moderation church?, aren’t we?” Technically we are not. Our history recognized when society abuses a substance to the degree it affects not only the individual person but the whole society, it would be best to make personal choices to avoid it’s use.
  • If we take the same model, and think of how sugar, salt, processed and modified food, on the same grounds we should also abstain from these items. So when out Baptist friends try to tell us that the wine that Jesus consumed was somehow watered down, remind them that Jesus himself turned water into wine, that was the very best the professional sommelier, wine steward, had ever tasted.
  • If it is for judgement and condemnation that we demean and divide people because of any substance, then we have allow a ‘thing’ to become more important that the person. That is Idolatry.(a whole other sermon)

So if our lesson is..

  • not to simply keep quiet,
  • not to say whatever comes to our mind
  • not to twist the words of others
  • not to use words to judge or condemn

What IS it we are suppose to get?
This is why Peter speaks up to ask for clarification.. give us the Cliff NotesTM Jesus.

Jesus gets to the heart of the matter.

  • First, physical things go the way of what is physical.
  • Our Words come from the heart… that is what matters.
  • Sometimes our words are untrue or insincere and they are only good for the sewer..

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

The disciples and the people would have known this verse by heart.

Jesus gives a list of the terrible things that can come from our heart, even if we don’t speak the words aloud:
evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, lying, slander
vs what our heart could say:
goodness, healing, respect, love, sharing, truth, and support.

Here is ‘THE’ Question:

What is the world hearing from your heart?

  • Is your heart silent?
    • Open Up! Speak Out Clear!
  • Is your heart screaming Anger, Fear, Judgement, Control
    • Stop talking, hear what those around you are saying.
  • Is your heart speaking God’s voice!
    • Praise the Lord!
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