MONDAY MEDITATION: Wake-Up Calls (September 11)

“But what goes out of the mouth comes from the heart. And that’s what contaminates a person in God’s sight.” — Matthew 15:18

Have you ever said something that revealed, unintentionally, what was in your heart?

I will confess that one time, decades ago, I told a gay joke among fellow pastors. It was a joke that perpetuated a stereotype of homosexuality. Looking back, I’m of course deeply ashamed. At the time, though, I didn’t think much about it. I didn’t personally know a person of a different sexual orientation, so it was easy to join in that stereotype and get a laugh.

A week later, one of the pastors I told it to called me to accountability.

“I’m gay,” he said. “And that joke you told, and everybody laughing at it, hurt me.”

I was stunned, and I was caught in the midst of my own prejudice. Jesus was right (surprise!): Our words can reveal what lies hidden in our hearts. That made me wonder what other unexamined things might lie buried within.

But the good thing about wakeup calls is that they open your eyes; in this respect, being “woke” isn’t a bad thing at all. That painful incident began a journey for me that’s led to being empathetic to the LGBTQ community, being more understanding, and advocating for their rights and full acceptance.

The Bible talks about repentance being a change of “heart and life” (Luke 15:7). Sometimes that change starts by hearing what comes out of our mouths. It also helps to have a friend who has the courage to hold us accountable.

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