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.” Mark 7, verses 20-23
What do you call a group of sexually immoral people, thieves, murderers, adulterers, slanderers, and envious lewd arrogant folly-chasing cretins? Answer: your local church.
Yes, I’m saying it: the First Baptist Church of Wherever (usually the biggest building in town) is a bunch of sexually immoral, lying, cheating so and so’s. So is the First Methodist Church, the Whatever Lutheran Church, St. Anyone’s Catholic Church, Bad Hair and Cheesy Smile Assembly of God, your local synagogue, every mosque and any group that gets together regularly to give praise to our savior Jesus. Churches wouldn’t suck so much if it weren’t for all those sinner hypocrites, you know? It’s sort of like hospitals: they wouldn’t suck so bad if it weren’t for all the sick people.
Perverts, cheating liars, dirty stealing dogs: Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Christians of every flavor, Democrats, Republicans, American Legionnaires, and the Rotary Club that meets at Bob’s Big Boy every Thursday at noon. These are the kinds of people who make up churches; these are the attributes of the sinners who live as the church of our Lord. Face it, folks: we’re screwed. Jesus said so. If you don’t believe me, re-read Jesus’ verses above and take out “person” then substitute your name, you dirty dog you. “What comes out of Dave is what defiles him…all these evils come from inside and defile Dave.” On my own, I’m beyond repair.
Pretty damning, don’ t you think? Of course you know where this is going; you’d have to add “willfully ignorant” to that list of sins if you didn’t. Don’t forget that Jesus was saying these harsh things in the context of trying to teach a bunch of Pharisees (also known as “sexually immoral people, thieves, murderers, adulterers, slanderers, and envious lewd arrogant folly-chasing cretins”) that what they were doing wasn’t nearly as important as what they believed inside. Because what they believed inside defined them and made the things that come out of them perverted, immoral, murderous and the rest.
Let’s groove to our 70s vibe instead. Sing after me: “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” Or “put your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee.” Or “Oh happy day when Jesus washed my sins away.” Put away the lousy music of life, then channel some gospel; perhaps trade in Megadeth for some Hillsong. Instead of letting our hearts be defined by the death of this world, let’s let that Man from Galilee do His work on us from the inside out. That’s what Jesus was saying when He implored His followers (and those Pharisees) with these last few verses. “I’m God. I love you. Let me erase all the junk inside you and reveal the inner gem I see.”
When He does that – when we let Him – it’s amazing how the words that could describe us will change. Imagine how good His church could look then when we simply radiate His morning light instead of trying to shake off our night shade.
Lord, let Your change work through me. Forgive my sins, and help me to do better for You.
Read Mark 7, verses 24-30.