Friday, April 21: Within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes Jesus' role as a servant. Join with us as we venture through one section of this vital gospel that recounts many of Jesus' actions during his ministry years.
Read Mark 7:14-23
Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them."
After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. "Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 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.)
He went on: "What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person's heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person."
"Garbage in, garbage out" is the old computer programmer's mantra that some have tried to apply more broadly to life in general. But Jesus calls into question the direct cause-and-effect between the two. While what and how much we take in can certainly affect our lives, Jesus says that the deceit, the sin, the evil that we have the potential to put on display in our lives comes from our own hearts and our own decisions.
Father, today we're asking you, please, to save us from ourselves. Help us to identify those times when we're tempted to unleash evil thoughts and actions. At those times, may we stop in our tracks. May we turn ourselves—or allow you to grab us by the shoulders and turn us—in the opposite direction. And may you help us, allow us, to catch sight of you in those moments, to see you calling us to walk with you instead. Amen.