Whenever we need our children to set the table, empty the dishwasher, or sit down to eat we must remind them to wash their hands. It is the best way to prevent the spread of disease and avoid illness. The germs and dirt we gather on our hands can be brought into our bodies through contact with food and dishes.
But sometimes our worries about contamination remain focused on the outward and not on what is on the inside. What does Jesus have to say about the Jewish concern of uncleanliness? What makes us unclean?
I don’t think Jesus was telling us that we need not worry about washing our hands or observe regular cleanliness practices for our health. I do believe he was addressing the common problem of the outside not matching up with the inside.
The simple fact that we call ourselves Christians automatically presents an outward appearance that others may perceive. As Christians people expect us to be caring and kind, sacrificial and humble. And there are many who are skilled at giving the appearance of righteousness – in their dress, in their superficial behaviors, and in their words. On the outside so many may look pious and pure, but it is the inside that we must be concerned about.
Some think that if we avoid associating with people who are not Christian or even blatant sinners we can remain holy and pure. While I do not endorse immersing yourself in a culture of earthly pleasures, I do believe that we need to be aware of what is inside our hearts as much as we are with what is around us.
The best way to be in control of how you are perceived and how you behave is to be in control of what is in your heart. We need to do more than tame our tongues. We need to tame our hearts and make them full of the love of God, so that love might overflow from us into the world around us.
DAILY CHALLENGE: Evaluate what is flowing out of your heart. Is your attitude one of loving kindness?
For our friends who have expressed concerns regarding HIS Home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti – we have heard from Hal and Chris, who operate the orphanage. There were a few cracks in the walls of the houses and one of the walls surrounding the yard suffered some damage, but the orphanage is okay and all of the children are safe.
As of Thursday, January 14, they had not heard from one of their employees, a man named Junior who lived in a neighborhood hit hard by the quake. Please continue to pray for all of them.