10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides.[d] If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”
16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
Heart of Darkness
Jesus, it’s dark in here. As I go deeper inside myself and examine the choices I have made, they so often come from a heart of darkness. I feel powerless sometimes because I doubt my motives. I struggle with grief because of the choices I have made in the past, or the people that I have lost. Fear, anxiety, and nervousness surprise me. Ken Gates said on Sunday that he believes that deep down anxiety is the natural state of humanity. I found it hard to think that others would struggle with anxiety or fear as I do. However, Jesus, you address this double-minded anxiety quite strongly in the Sermon on the Mount.
Then there is the unhealthy desire for things I think that I deserve or need. I demand things in my heart from my world and those around me. I desire material things that are temporary and prone to break. Everything that I desire apart from you will fail me. I desire to self-medicate with things that can not satisfy. Al television series end. All computer games create a fantasy that lasts for a while. However, the only satisfying eternal truth is in you.
I seldom get angry because I bury my fear. Perhaps deeper in me is a caged rage. I hope not. I am not aware of it. However, when I think I am free of pride, I find another area where I need to change my perceptions.
However, Jesus, you lead us from darkness to light. You clean us deeply from the inside. Each time I find sin deep inside me, you remove the fears and create stability. You enable the guilty stains to be washed away and so I can forget about myself for a while and get blissfully lost in you.
- What defiles a person?
- What do our words reveal – especially in unguarded moments?
- What is the natural condition of a person’s heart and how does Jesus change that?
- What do modern psychologists preach most often about a person’s heart? Do they have justification for their beliefs?
- How do you have your heart cleansed in an ever-deepening way?