"I Didn't Really Mean That"

May 9, 2022

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. Luke 6:45 NLT

You’ve heard it. You’ve probably even said it a time or two. Emotions are running high, and some hurtful words burst out. After things get heated and perhaps a few tears flow, someone says, “I didn’t really mean that. I didn’t really mean what I said.”

Having been part of that happening a few times (sadly, I’ve been on both sides of it), I can say what I am sure you know as well. Those words “I didn’t mean it” don’t help much at all. The hurt is real. The pain has already been experienced. The damage has been done. Forgiveness can happen, but it’s still an experience that would have been better missed.

Jesus said the real issue is even deeper than that. He said our words are a window to our hearts. Far from our words being something insignificant, Jesus said that our words give a clear indication of the state of our hearts. “What you say flows from your heart.” What we say reflects what we want, what we prioritize, and who we are.

Whenever I find myself in a verbal war, or I become aware that I regularly wound with my words, I need to start the process of fixing my relationships by working first on my own heart and my relationship with God. My heart is the issue. I show what I am by how I speak. Jesus said if I want to know who I really am, pay attention to the things I say. We are fairly skilled at overlooking the troublesome issues in our lives and passing over the wounds we give others by asserting we didn’t mean what we said, and even transferring responsibility and blame to them. “You know I didn’t mean that. How could you think I really meant that?”

It’s easy to judge others and think about what they say and do in our relationships. But Jesus told us to take the plank out of our own eye first. Before you start making judgments about other people’s hearts based on their words, listen to your own words first. Just as a southern drawl reveals a person’s roots or a German accent tells you that person is German, so also your words tell a story. Listen to your words—the things you say. What are they telling you? How can you help your relationships by taking that information seriously?

  • Thomas Fuller said that when something is burning in the heart, sparks fly out of the mouth. God, what is coming from my heart and mouth? Help me.