When you get to know someone, you talk with them. You listen to their thoughts and opinions, discover their favorite movies and books, learn about their past and how they came to be the person that they are. And, eventually, you discover if their actions back up their words, if they are, in their heart, who they say they are.
You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. (Matthew 12:34-35, ESV)
The Pharisees were the religious elite. The men that were supposed to be the examples for all, the pillars of the community. They were to help the Jewish community grow in God and follow the laws of Moses. Yet, they set impossible requirements, demeaning those who could not meet their requirements, and failing to help those who truly needed their help.
They may have said all the right words and appeared to perform all the right actions, yet what was in their hearts? Their words and actions were lies, thus, in their hearts they were not faithful followers of the Lord.
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life and his words of wisdom are a source of blessing, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence and evil. (Proverbs 10:11, AMP)
The condition of our heart reflects the condition of our relationship with the Lord, which is revealed through our words. If you are lying, angry, gossiping, muttering, complaining, what does that say about the condition of your heart? Pastors and teachers will often speak of “having a heart for the Lord and His work.” This is what they are talking about! Having a heart for the Lord cannot help but be reflected in our words!
Our own hearts can be easy to discern - for us! But what about others? The truth behind their words may not always be so easy to discern. However, eventually, one who is portraying a false image will be revealed. That is why we must ask questions. Through our own words, we can discern the truth of other’s words. Of course, we must also be carful - what are your words revealing about your heart?
Again, going back to the Pharisees; their hearts were revealed through their actions and their words against Jesus Christ. The Pharisees did not like their teachings, or themselves being criticized by anyone. If someone is not willing or able to stand up to criticism, what does that tell you about their heart and the truth of what they say?
Are there not people today that we are told not to criticize? Are there not people today that we think must be right and know what they are doing even if we do not understand why? Are there not people today we think we should not criticize because they must surely know better than us? Everyone’s words - yes EVERYONE! - should be compared against the Scriptures. Do the people, who we think or are told we should not question or criticize, truly have a heart for the Lord?