Watching what you say
We’ve all heard phrases like this in the Bible, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
It’s a great reminder that our words actually DO represent who we are inside. Oftentimes people will say mean or nasty things to someone under the guise of a “joke.” I don’t want to sound “holier than thou” here, but I never understood saying a harmful comment to someone in the guise of joking around.
I often think that when someone is joking around, they are also partly telling the truth of how they feel.
Here’s an example: someone is joking around, and tells another person that he/she is doing a bad job. But hey! They are just JOKING.
I’m sorry, but when someone does that to me, I often feel like the person is actually telling me that I’m doing a bad job. Yeah, it’s a joke, but these words are real words spoken. Why even say something like that? I really do wonder. Does the person speaking those words just want to get their aggression out? Or maybe some people just think, “That’s just how I talk. I say things like that, because I’m sarcastic.”
Hiding behind a persona of being sarcastic… well, look at the word sarcastic… it literally means “to strip off the flesh.” Do you want to do that to someone? That’s what sarcastic words effectively do to someone.
People have told me that I’m a thoughtful conversationalist. As in, I take time to consider my words before speaking them. And very much a side point… a recent podcast episode covered how various people have different rthyms when having a conversation. Some people can’t stand open pauses, so they talk to fill the space. Whereas other people need the time to consider their words.
Back to Jesus’ words in Mark 6:45, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” The words you speak represent what is in your heart. Be careful with those words!
Jesus speaking poetically in Luke 6:45
Since this is such a relevant verse, I did a little more digging into it, and found something really amazing! And it has to do with Jesus speaking poetically. Specifically in the beginning part of the verse before the line “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
This beginning part of Luke 6:45 is actually quite hard to read.
Here’s the full verse in the ESV translation:
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good,Luke 6:45 (ESV)
and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil,
for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
The ESV being a more literal translation tries to put the literal translated words in pretty much the same sentence structure.
The NIV’s is much easier to read:
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.Luke 6:45 (NIV)
Here Jesus talks about what we have in our heart. Store up good in there, and you’ll bring out good. Store up bad, and you’ll bring out bad.
The way Jesus spoke this in the Greek is awesome. He repeats the same word for “good” three times. And he repeats the same word for “bad three” times.
The good, good, good
The bad, bad, bad:
The verse could be literally translated as:
The worthy man out of the worthwhile store of the heart brings out the worthwhile and the worthless out of the worthless brings out the worthless. Because out of the abundance of the heart, it chatters, that heart of his.(from christswords.com)
Treasure and thesaurus
The beginning of this verse has a word that looks like “thesaurus”:
- ESV: The good person out of the good treasure of his heart
- NIV: A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart
- Greek: agathos anthrōpos agathou thēsaurou kardias
thēsaurou sticks out.
The word translated as “treasure” means a “store” of something and its secondary meaning is valuables. “Also meaning a “strong room”, “a granary”, “a safe,” or “a cavern.” It is not the valuables themselves, but the place where they are kept, and the basis for our word, “thesaurus.”
Wow. The place where valuables are kept is a thēsaurou. So a thesaurus is like a place where valuables are kept.
I love the thesaurus. Love it. In college, I discovered the Roget’s Thesaurus with all its cross-references. Digging into this book, I could hop from word to word for hours. I even made art about the thesaurus in college. The thesaurus is a place where valuables are kept.
You could draw a parallel with the thesaurus in this verse.
- A thesaurus is a place where words are kept.
- Jesus is talking about how words come out of our heart. Good words come out of a good heart. Bad words come out of a bad heart.
Could it be that the heart is the place where words are kept? And these words are valuable.