Ketchup or Mustard?

Author: A. W. Smith — Host: Dylan KraayenbrinkPosted on: January 4, 2024

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Ketchup or Mustard?

READ: MATTHEW 22:37-40; LUKE 6:43-45

What comes out when you squeeze a ketchup bottle? Ketchup, of course. And what comes out if you squeeze a mustard bottle? Mustard! Whatever is inside comes out.

And it’s the same with us. How we react in a situation says a lot about what’s going on in our hearts. In Matthew 12:34, Jesus says, “The mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” What we say—and how we say it—shows what’s inside our hearts. When we’re coming from a place of resting in God’s love, what comes out of us will be good and wholesome, like patience and kindness. But when we’re coming from a place of unhealed wounds and self-reliance, what comes out of us will be harsh and bitter.

The stresses of life have a way of squeezing reactions out of us. What comes out of your mouth if you’re squeezed by something you don’t like? What you say shows a little bit of what’s in your heart. God calls us to use our words carefully to build each other up, not to tear down (Ephesians 4:29). So when we find ourselves saying things that hurt others, it’s an important indicator that our hearts need some attention.

God has compassion on us, and He is eager to fill our hearts with His love (Romans 5:5). But when our hearts start overflowing, not with love but with unhealed hurt or harsh words, it’s time to talk to Jesus about it. He can handle any emotion we’re facing. He empathizes with us, and He always wants to help us. One of the primary ways He does this is by providing people in our lives—like therapists, friends, teachers, parents, pastors, etc.—who can help us when we’re especially stuck, when bitter reactions keep coming out of us when we’re under pressure.

The journey of healing and growing with Jesus is long and not always straightforward, but we can know that Jesus has promised to be with us every step of the way, gently healing our wounds and helping us grow to become more like Him. We can trust Him and rest in His love, no matter what. • A. W. Smith

• Can you think of a time you were facing a tough situation but you were able to rest in Jesus’s love through it? What about a time when it wasn’t so easy to rest in His love?

• When you’re feeling stuck in your reactions to tough situations, who are trusted people God has put in your life you could talk with—such as therapists, friends, teachers, parents, pastors, etc.? If no one comes to mind, you can ask God to help you identify someone in the future.

“The mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” Matthew 12:34b (CSB)