We’ve become anti-everything. It’s the new solution. Have a problem?… all you need to do is be against something, and you’ll feel better. But just like the old saying goes, “fight bad with good”, we need to be FOR something. It’s the only way this life is going to work. So in my journey of reading through Jesus’ words in the New Testament, I have come to that one statement that has many people fighting over its words today. It even says the Pharisees took offense over it too, so it is not new to our generation.
Here is the entire reference in question and then I’ll give my conclusion of what Jesus is really saying.
Matthew 15:10-20 ~ Defilement is from within
Summoning the crowd, Jesus told them, “Listen and understand: It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
Then the disciples came up and told Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard this statement?”
He replied, “Every plant that My heavenly Father didn’t plant will be uprooted. Leave them alone! They are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
Then Peter replied to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”
“Are even you still lacking in understanding?” He asked. “Don’t you realize that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is eliminated? But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
There is not a single person that passes this test. It’s interesting that Jesus mentions “evil thoughts” first in his list. This is probably the number one problem in our world.
Murders, adulteries, and thefts are self-explanatory, but what are sexual immoralities? Adulteries have already been explicitly called out. I have not dug into the original meaning of the phrase to determine if Jesus was specifically talking about homosexuality. Either way, we can all agree that sexual immorality includes many things that are problems today – pornography, promiscuity, sexual addiction, sexual abuse, sex trafficking, prostitution, and just about all of Las Vegas… By allowing these immoralities into our lives and homes, we have done more damage to marriage and the family than homosexuality by itself will ever do.
So what does Jesus say? Jesus was known for answering a question with another question, or replying with a more personal statement directed at the heart. In this case, I believe Jesus would say to each of us: Go clean up your own house and then come back to me with your complaints about others. I do not think Jesus would be marching in a gay pride parade if He was here today, but I do think His answer would be just what He said in this passage: “Leave them alone!”
This old hymn says it well, to all of us.
Come, Ye Sinners
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow’r.
I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms.
Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.