â€œYou brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.â€ Matthew 12:34-35 (NIV)
Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees in this passage, making it easy for me to glance over it and dismiss it. He couldnâ€™t possibly have met these words for me! Letâ€™s check the dictionary to make sure!
â€˜Evilâ€™. Merriam-Websterâ€™s Dictionary (1997) says: â€œwicked, causing or threatening distress or harmâ€.
In my pastorâ€™s weekly note in our newsletter (note that link will only be good this week, August 4+) he posed some hard questions to all of us. â€œIn what ways does my way of life hurt my family and friends?â€ Well, again, it would be easy for me to point to the difficulties of others that cause their families pain. It can be easy because I am not tempted in that way and so I can point away! Butâ€¦I do have temptations and weaknesses that cause my family â€œdistressâ€ maybe even â€œharmâ€. And so that brings me back to â€˜evilâ€™.
Out of the overflow of my heart can come evil. It is the manifestation of that old saying, â€œGarbage inâ€”garbage out!â€ If I allow garbage to come into my life, then there is every chance that something smelly will come out of my mouth! How does the garbage come in? Through my eyes, my ears, even my environment. With whom do spend time? How much of my time do I spend with God? How much of my time do I spend listening to God? How much of my time do I spend looking to God?
John Wesley, a great man of God, wrote his General Rules, which can be summed up in three points:
1) Do no harm. Wesley said this could be done when we turn away from evil of all kinds, especially those evils that are most often done over and over; even considered acceptable in our society.
2) Do good. Wesley said this could be done as we are showing mercy and doing good at every opportunity.
3) Attending upon all the ordinances of God. These are the spiritual â€˜exercisesâ€™ if you will that will grow us in a healthy spiritual life like prayer, worship, communion, fasting, and reading Godâ€™s Word. That is how to have a love-relationship with God.
My pastor has given me a lot of think about this week. As I consider the goodness of God may that be the overflow of my heart.