Our culture has become adept at bending the truth. We are good at telling people what we think they want to hear and at ‘working’ statistics to support our viewpoint. It is easy to say this is who we are and then to go act in a different manner. Larger society has become very gray.
It was no different in Jesus’ day. The Pharisees came out to see Jesus and wanted to challenge Jesus and the disciples because they were eating with ‘unclean’ hands. They had not undergone the ceremonial cleansing of their hands before they ate. The word ‘ceremonial’ is a tip-off. In the opening line of His response, Jesus calls them hypocrites and quotes from Isaiah about their lip service and fascination with the rules. We hear “smack, smack, smack” but the Pharisees were wondering who Jesus was talking about.
Jesus goes on to teach that it is not what we put into ourselves that makes us unclean but it what comes from our thoughts and words that make us unclean. We sin and become unclean when we have evil thoughts, when we utter lies and unkind words, when we engage in immoral behavior, and when we allow envy, greed, jealousy, and malice into our hearts. When we work to be holy and to live a righteous life and to keep evil far away, then we are right with God and we are ‘clean’.
People today are pretty good at wading through the smoke screens and half-truths served up so commonly today. And we must make no mistake about it – God is pretty good at it too. We cannot fool God. When we come before Him with sin in our lives – and sinful we are – we must confess, repent, and seek His strength for the battle. In His great love we find mercy and grace. He refines us and gives us strength. Allow Him in, lean on Him a little more, hear His voice, and go forth in Christ, seeking a closer walk with God.
Scripture reference: Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, and 21-23