Several of today’s readings talk about our mouths! I believe that what we say is mentioned so much throughout the bible because it is so important. We don’t just speak into thin air. What we say and how we say it affects not only us, but other people and situations, too. As our words go out into the atmosphere, they carry great power …for good or for evil… to bless or to curse … to build up or tear down. Either our speech agrees with God’s Word, or it doesn’t. God’s Word, Jesus, is Truth. If we don’t agree with what God says, that means we are lying.
Throughout the gospels, we see that Jesus loved the sinners. But one thing He could not abide was hypocrites. Dictionary.com defines hypocrite as:
- a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
- a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.
Some synonyms are phoney, pretender, imposter. I think the opposite of hypocrisy is integrity, truthfulness … and that is what we need to look at when evaluating who we choose to lead .. in the church and in our country. (Very important in this election year!)
6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
Jesus is talking about people who say one thing, but believe and do something entirely different. Hypocrites.
18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
The Jewish people were so concerned with outward things… what to touch, what to wear, what to eat. They wanted to “be clean.” And the Old Testament talks a lot about those things. God gave very specific details about how to approach Him. “Cleanness” was absolutely necessary. Approaching God in an “unclean” manner could get you killed. God’s holiness cannot exist alongside uncleanness / unholiness. We talked about this a couple of days ago.
Jesus’ teaching was very new, and people were amazed that Jesus taught with such authority. He didn’t undo the Old Testament laws, but He did expand them. Cleanliness was still important, but not just on the outside. He explained that one needed to be clean on the inside. In their heart – their innermost being. Their attitudes, thoughts, desires, as well as their actions.
Jesus is always doing something new. He doesn’t like to be put into a box. In fact, I believe He loves to break out of the boxes we put Him into. How do we box Him in with our traditions, rituals, habits? Are these just a way to feel in control? Safe? Satisfied with where we are, not willing to go deeper with Jesus?
Am I willing to go where He leads? I am not much of an adventurer…
Lord, take my hand.
You lead and I will follow.
I will trust you because
You are Good;
You are Loving;
And You are Faithful.