It is a challenge to safeguard space where we can be exposed and unhindered to Bible engagement and prayer. But input determines output and it will shape our thoughts and then our speech.
Have you ever thought about what you might say if you had dementia? What would people hear coming from your mouth?
Maybe you never have, but I have, and yes, I pray that it never happens. But if it does, it is likely that I won’t even know what I’m saying. But does that mean that I shouldn’t care?
The Bible says: “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of”. Or in other words: “What comes out of a person’s mouth shows what he is made of in his innermost being”. This makes it pretty clear what I will be talking about in such an extreme case because this is what I talk about now.
Those things that I allow to dwell in my heart, which I speak about now in unguarded moments; the things that excite me, and also what make me pause and reflect, what I lament and at best pray about. All of these things come from my heart.
What I wish
I want a lot of good, beautiful and positive things to come out of my mouth. But perhaps what is most important is understanding what do people hear now when I talk? And what do they hear from you? Positive and pleasant things? Superficialities? Gossip? Ranting?
Do people recognize what we claim to be, that we want to be people of hope and peace, people of the Book?
How does what is supposed to come out get in?
These days I am reading the book by Jürgen Werth “Lieber Dietrich … Dein Jürgen – Über Leben am Abgrund – ein Briefwechsel mit Bonhoeffer” (Dear Dietrich … Yours, Jürgen – About life on the edge – an exchange of letters with Bonhoeffer). Jürgen Werth, a former European Evangelical Alliance board member, answers the letters which Bonhoeffer wrote while imprisoned.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes from Tegel prison on Easter Sunday 1943, how he was still repeating the Bible verses he had learned by heart during the day before going to sleep and reading hymns and Psalms at 6 o’clock in the morning.
He was perceived by his guards and fellow prisoners as an extraordinary person. Obviously, the input influenced the output.
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