14 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 15 It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” Mark 7:14-15 NLT.
This summer, I’ve given a lot of thought to words. I listen to kids pick at each other … to a friend as she vents (and rightfully so) … the words out of my mouth tell a deeper story beyond what I say … and even silence speaks its own language, makes a statement.
17 Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. 18 “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? 19 Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)
20 And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” Mark 7:17-23 NLT.
Words become highlighted in colors of jealousy, betrayal, envy, evil thoughts. And even silence can speak hatred.
This language takes me to my knees, changes my prayer life, gives me new focus. When I look past the words and into the heart behind them, I see the need for Jesus in all of us, and I am filled with compassion where the wounding once occupied.