One of the big arguments back in Jesus’ day was deciding what was “clean” versus “unclean.” I mean, it was a big deal to them – mainly because they didn’t have a ginormous Whirlpool freezer one the bottom refrigerator, so it was good for God to give them laws about how to prepare for a meal, what to eat (clean vs. unclean), etc. to protect them from all sorts of diseases.
So the Pharisees (the know-it-alls, if you will) were none to happy when they witnessed Jesus’ disciples eating without washing their hands first. (Quite frankly, I don’t know what the big deal was. Every time my son or one of his friends come in my house I immediately yell out, “WASH YOUR HANDS!” right as they grab a refrigerator door handle or dive into a bag of Chewy Chips Ahoys.)
Well Jesus had a little “A-ha” moment to pass on to the Pharisees: “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’” (Matthew 15:11)
The disciples just didn’t understand what He was saying. Sort of a “Do what, Jesus?” So Jesus says (and I love this first part), “Are you still so dull? Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’” (Matthew 15:16-18)
Oh how true that is. I can wash my hands before every meal, eat only organic produce and fish and totally give up sugar (yeah, I’m laughing at that last one, too) and that may very well make my body clean, but if I’m spewing out gossip to a friend, lying to my husband or cursing at another driver in front of my children I’m not all that clean, am I?
Yes, it’s important to eat healthy foods as much as possible and to wash your hands before every meal. But to be truly “clean” let’s focus on what comes OUT of our mouths just as we focus on what is going IN them.
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