In Need of Cleaning

Words aren’t just a random mix of letters that come flying out of our mouths. They are living proof of what’s in our hearts.


Some words have a way of showing up uninvited — those words that come flying out at a rate that (in the moment) seems faster than the speed of light. Right after finishing my sentence, I wish I could snatch ‘em back and ingest them myself —have a healthy dose of my own poisoning. But that’s not how words work, is it? Once they’re out, they’re out. The cards are on the table, and everyone can see your hand…or should I say heart.

You see, that’s the tricky thing with words. They aren’t just a random mix of letters that come flying out of our mouths. They are living proof of what’s in our hearts. 

“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil things.” Jesus, Matthew 12:34b-35

(P.S. That’s what I had for breakfast this morning.)

Lately, I’ve caught myself making statements that are rooted in pride, judgment, and criticism. Only moments later, I realize how nasty they sound and imagine how I would react if someone said those very same things to me. What would I think of them?

Words reveal our character.

How do you kill bacteria on your bathroom counter? You grab that can of Lysol disinfectant and spray the surface. You can wipe it away after thirty seconds and catch a few of the germs, but if you want a deep clean, you let it sit for three minutes (at least that’s what the can says). I decided this morning that my heart needed to take a seat with God on this issue. I prayed that He would do some scrubbing and help me tame this tongue of mine.

Maybe you’ll do the same?

I know this isn’t a one-shot deal. Bathroom counters get dirtier by the day, and this heart of mine is no stranger to the grime of life that needs to be wiped away.

“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Jesus, Matthew 12:36-37

One day, I’ll stand before my Maker and give an account. I pray that my words will have breathed life into weary souls and strengthened the faith of saints. I pray that I will have honored God with my lips, because it is evidence of my heart.

But on the days when my words fail me (and they will), I’ll turn to His unchanging Word and inexhaustible grace. He’ll reveal the dingy corners of my heart that need some cleaning, and we’ll do the Lysol deal again and again and again.

And again.

Thank you God for never giving up on me.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

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