Clean Hands Empty Hearts
Kids in our culture live with two everyday realities unique to growing up.
One is that their lives are dominated by rules and regulations. Whether they heed them all or not, almost every arena they participate in involves learning new rules and then learning the consequences for breaking those rules. Home, school, church, sports, clubs, even becoming a new driver—each comes with a set of rules and consequences.
The other reality of childhood and adolescence is being rewarded and praised based on right behavior. Its kind of the other side of all of the rule-making. We as a society currently are very free with our praise when kids act right, look right, talk right, and succeed in any way imaginable.
Even for kids who don’t grow up in strict church environments, it’s easy to see why some get the idea that what we do is what’s most important to the adults in our lives, to our spiritual leaders, and even to God. We send them loud messages that say, “Success means obeying the rules and achieving in comparison to your peers.”
In Mark 7:1-23, the Pharisees attempted to discredit Jesus because His disciples didn’t follow the rules about hand-washing before eating.
Jesus’ response was that God cares more about what’s in our hearts—and what comes out of our hearts—than our success at following the traditions of men and submitting to man-made rules.