Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind

Guarding your heart through your mouth

One of the most forgotten teachings of the church through the centuries seems mostly lost in our generation. Both Jesus and His disciples warned against "loose lips." Blasphemy (profaning holy things), "filthy communication" (dirty talk), false testimony (repeating unsubstantiated hearsay), and gossip, are alike condemned throughout the Gospels and New Testament epistles.

Jesus said: “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account of in the day of judgment,” Matthew 12:36. And, “It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this is what defiles him,” Matthew 15:11. “. . . the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these are the things that defile a man,” Matthew 15:18. “A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth things that are good, and an evil man, out of the evil treasure of his heart, brings forth things that are evil: for it is from the abundance of the heart that his mouth speaks,” Luke 6:45.

The Apostle Paul adds: “Let no corrupt communication come out of your mouth, but that which is good and edifying, that it may minister grace to its hearers,” Ephesians 4:29. “. . . now also put off all anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy communication out of your mouth,” Colossians 3:8.

Church fathers teach that "the pure in heart" referred to in Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount known as the beattitudes is referring to believers who work to keep their hearts from being corrupted by evil, obscene, or dirty thoughts or words. The mind cannot be entirely kept free of impure input, because the world is always with us and bombards us with temptations. That's what Jesus is getting at when he says "it's not what goes into the mouth..." —the mind will form improper words and thoughts— "but what comes out of the mouth..." —out of the mind into the heart— "this is what defiles a man." The experts say that the best insurance against letting those loose thoughts into your heart is to teach your heart to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians:5:17), especially the name of Jesus or the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.".

Finally, James the brother of our Lord added:

If any man does not offend in word, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body. Look, we put bits in horses’ mouths to make them obey us and we use them to turn their whole body. Also ships, no matter how great they are, are driven by fierce winds, yet are turned about with a very small rudder, in whatever direction the rudder directs it. Even so the tongue is a small member that boasts great things, but see how great a matter a little fire kindles! And the tongue is likewise a world of iniquity, a fire among our members, defiling the whole body and setting on fire the course of nature, and its fire is set in hell. For every kind of beast, every kind of bird, serpent, and things in the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by men, but no man can tame the tongue; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless God, even the Father; and with it we curse men, who are made in God’s image. Out of the same mouth comes blessing and cursing. Brothers, these things should not be.

James 3:2-10

So now, what's your New Year's resolution?



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Today's chuckle

The highlight of our zoo trip was a peacock showing off its plumage. My four-year-old son was particularly taken with it. That evening, he couldn’t wait to tell his father: “Dad, guess what! I saw a Christmas tree come out of a chicken!”

Thought for today

It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.

C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)

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Jon Kennedy's latest book is The Everything Guide to C.S. Lewis and Narnia, now in stores, from Adams Media, F&W Publications. From May 9, 2007 through July 2, 2008 his blog entries or "Jonals" were articles inspired by readings in Lewis's work that didn't fit into the book. Click here for a list of all articles in the C.S. Lewis Overflow series. The book is available for purchase in support of the Liberty Museum in Nanty Glo and is also available on Amazon.



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