Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure.”
Just before this passage the Pharisees accused Jesus of healing people via demonic power rather than Godly power. In these verses Jesus is calling them out. They accuse him of evil when his ministry is bearing “good fruit”. In so doing they are guilty of “evil things”.
I am drawn to this sentence, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”.
There are some people who tend to speak negatively much of the time. When they offer feedback they gravitate to what’s wrong. Jana and I have been watching the series “Yellowstone”. One of the more interesting characters is Beth Dutton played by the actress Kelly Reilly. Beth Dutton is a verbal hand grenade on two legs. Her words are vicious, cruel, evil. She tells people what’s wrong with them whether they ask for it or not. And she does it in the most degrading, destructive manner possible.
However, as the series continues we learn of her vulnerability. She feels responsible for her mother’s untimely death and carries a huge amount of guilt as a result. But instead of her burden turning inward, it explodes outward onto whoever happens to be in front of her. She is nasty because she is broken on the inside, carrying massive guilt and shame she cannot escape.
Beth Dutton is an extreme example, but there are people like her walking among us. Maybe you know one or two. They use words as weapons. They revel in the role of critic – and not constructive criticism either. They make themselves feel big by making those around them feel small. Their words are poison. And when you challenge their negativity, they will usually say they are just being honest or truthful, telling it like it is. You know anyone like that? I do.
The next time you encounter someone like this remember that the negativity going out from them usually pales in comparison to the negativity going on inside of them. They are often tormented souls in need of God’s love and grace. Pray for them – they need it.
Lord Jesus, we ask your healing on those whose mouths spew hurt, pain, and unrestrained criticisms onto those around them. Restore them with your love and keep us from being like them. We pray this in your holy name. Amen.