Hear, and Understand

Matthew 15:10-11. “And He called the multitude, and said unto them, “Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

This short sentence contains such an important truth, and a principle for living that no one should ignore.

The scribes and Pharisees were overly concerned about what might go into a man’s mouth if he didn’t wash his hands carefully before he ate.

If you’ve ever had a baby, you know that you simply cannot control every single thing that goes into a child’s mouth.  Sometimes you wonder how on earth he survives his childhood.  Everything a baby sees goes immediately from hand to mouth, no matter how vigilant you are.

When our first child was maybe 18 months old, he was crawling around in the yard.  He was experiencing grass, dirt, and dandelions with great interest, and he particularly liked little rocks that he could grab by the fistful and jam into his mouth.  I watched carefully because I didn’t want to see one of those stone get stuck in his throat.

He happily scooted to a small pile of little black stones, grabbed a bunch, and shoved them into the usual place.  Before I could get to him, I noticed a kind of black drool running from both sides of his mouth.  Thinking that was rather strange, I  snatched him up and forced his mouth open. I gagged when I saw it wasn’t rocks at all, but a mouthful of little black worm-like things.  They must have been delicious, because the baby put up an awful fuss when I scooped out the worms with my index finger and threw them on the ground.  He may have swallowed some–I’ll never know.  The point here is that he was not defiled by what went into his mouth.  He was just fine!  In fact, I had a real job to keep him away from those nasty little critters, he loved them so much.

It is the evil that lives within our hearts that defiles us; it is the speech that erupts from a volcano of anger, hatred, envy, and selfishness out through our lips that defiles us.

Can you imagine how those lofty leaders of the Jews felt in their own sinful hearts when they heard these words from Jesus?

Do you think it made them happy?

I don’t.

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