Comes Out Sideways

There’s a giant hole in my basement ceiling, situated below my kitchen. A plumber ripped out the drywall ceiling in search of a leaking pipe. Sure enough there was a plastic vent pipe with three holes, compliments of a rat we’d caught in the crawl space two years earlier.  

DSCN3014The plumber said we wouldn’t have known there were holes in the vent pipe, if it hadn’t been for a blockage in a different pipe.

Instead of the water backing up into the kitchen sink, it found the holes of least resistance and flooded the ceiling.

What does that scenario have to do with eternal significance?

Because the image of those exposed pipes in the ceiling flooded my heart, reminding me….

When I don’t deal with hidden sin in my heart, especially a grievance against someone, foul words will eventually pour out of my mouth.

The problem isn’t my lips or mouth, it’s my heart.

“But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” (Matthew 15:18)

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Un-confessed sin towards others creates the perfect environment for bitterness to take root. Like the blockage in my water pipe, my thoughts and attitudes fester, clog my arteries. I may not be aware of my heart’s condition until, BAM!

Someone triggers my emotions.

Releasing a barrage of unkind words, or a barb.

Exposing my unhealed wounds like the holes in a pipe, and all because I had a blockage in my heart called un-forgiveness.

Once spoken, hateful words are like releasing a bag of feathers into the wind. There is no getting them back.

But sometimes, unkind words are subtle. People have to read between the lines.

 “Sideways,” a friend told me. “When we’re not forthright, everything comes out sideways.”

Like a verbal slap that comes from left field, but aimed to hit home.

Grumbling or murmuring behind someone’s back.

An “innocent” intentional action to make a point.

Passive aggressive is another label for not dealing honestly with others when we’re offended, or upset.

Fortunately, my heart was exposed last week along with my kitchen pipes. Now, everything is cleared, clean, in working order.

And the drywall man is here to repair the gutted ceiling.

Should I tell him what I learned, even in this?

Who Can Tame the Tongue?

Picture - poisonous tongue.<br /><br /><br />fotosearch - search<br /><br /><br />stock photos,<br /><br /><br />pictures, wall<br /><br /><br />murals, images,<br /><br /><br />and photo clipartShell-shocked, I watched the battle unfold.

Someone made a casual remark. In response, another person commented with just a word…one careless word.

No offense was intended.

But instead of ricocheting off the eardrums, the thoughtless word detonated on impact like a grenade. The blast cut deep, pierced the heart, and drew blood.

Like a mad dog, the injured soul retaliated; inviting a rash of venomous words.

This wasn’t an attack from the enemy. This was friendly fire wounding its own.

“No one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.

 With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing.

My brethren, these things ought not to be this way (James 3:8-10).

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”

I sang those words as a child whenever I stood in the line of fire. My feeble attempt to mask the pain, pretend it didn’t hurt.

As a teenager, I gave up childish rhymes and suffered the pain; tried to forget. “You’re ugly, the teenage boy told me years ago. I doubt that he remembers, but I do.

Now I stoically remove the arrows that sting. Dodge verbal bullets as best I can. Feel my heart thump whenever I hear youth tease and taunt each other with tongues sharp as swords.

“A sharp tongue is the only edge tool that grows keener with constant use.”~ Washington Irving.

But who am I to speak?

Hasn’t my own tongue lashed others, criticized, and gossiped? Used playful sarcasm to camouflage offensive truth? Sometimes, I fool myself. Believe I’ve bridled my tongue, when in fact I spoke behind the person’s back.

“My brethren, these things ought not to be.”

What’s the problem?

MY COLD AND ROTTEN HEART Image

Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matthew 12:34).

So when the tongue is out of control, I can wash my mouth with soap, or go to the Heart of the problem and …

Search my heart, confess my sin.

Read the words Jesus spoke which “are spirit and are life” (John 6:63).

Pray that “no unwholesome talk comes out of (MY) mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”(Ephesians 4:29).

Amen?