Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”
Then Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.”
“Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”
We are all guilty of the “devil made me do it” syndrome. We blame others for our anger, envy, pride, and other immoralities. Driving down the road, yelling or gesturing to the other drivers, berating an employee for doing something wrong, chastising a child for disobedience, blaming others or Satan for succumbing to temptation.
What Jesus said is that these are already in us, in our hearts, part of who we are. We were all born sinful creations of God. We can’t blame others for what is already in our hearts. And we certainly can’t blame them for the words that come out of our mouths or the evil thoughts that dwell in our minds. If your heart is filled with bitterness, then it will come out in your words. And if your heart is filled with sinful desires, that will come out in your words as well.
We have to take ownership of what we say and do. Our words determine where our hearts are. Jesus also said, “What you say flows from what is in your heart” (Luke 6:45). If your heart is hard, then it will show by what you say. If you are bitter, then you will find yourself talking about it, because bitter people love to spread it around. We have to take ownership of what we say and do. If we truly have Christlike thoughts, then our words should prove that out.
But if you have a heart that is filled with grace and love and wisdom from God’s Word, that, too, will come out. And that should be the goal of every believer.