Then (Jesus) called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”
For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” ~ Mark 7:14-15; 21-23
Following up on the reading from James yesterday, this teaching from Jesus elaborates. It isn't just the words that come out of us that hurt. It is our actions as well.
This passages comes from an interaction Jesus had with the Pharisees. He and his disciples were eating without washing their hands.
Now, their reply wasn't like when you did this as a kid and your mom sent you straight away to wash them. The Pharisees were always looking to catch Jesus breaking the commandments to condemn him: to try to prove he was a heretic and blasphemer.
But as he always did, Jesus turned the tables on them. Why were they so concerned with what he and his disciples were putting into their own mouths?
Why weren't they more concerned with the anger, outrage, slander, etc that was coming out of theirs?
Why weren't they more concerned with what was coming out of their hearts?
Gracious God, help my words and actions to be life-giving and loving. Amen