Clean Hands or Clean Hearts?

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Washing hands before eating… That’s the issue the Pharisees had with Jesus and His disciples. Mark 7:1-13

The Pharisees gave so much importance to traditions. They observed the external state of things – washing of hands, washing pots/pans/pitchers to stay clean. Yet their hearts were of another state. Jesus referred to Isaiah’s prophecy about their hypocrisy. They paid lip-service only.

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
7 ‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’

Jesus said It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man. But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” Matthew 15:11, 18-20

What about me? How often I observe traditions for the sake of traditions? We think we are serving God inside our church, when we lead or do bible study, when we pray, attend services, fellowships, retreats and camps. People look at all the external stuff but God looks at my heart.

Do I only honor God with what I say? Or even with the things I do – what is my attitude, the internal condition of my heart – which no one sees but God? When the heart is right, even changing diapers, washing dishes, cooking a meal, or holding the hands of a grieving friend honors God.

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