Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile. “From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”
For those who don’t know the term smack talk, it’s when someone says something to someone else with the sole purpose of distracting them from what they are trying to do. It is leveraged regularly in sporting events, politics, the media, etc. It can be verbal or written, but, regardless of whatever source it comes from, it is typically rooted in a half-truth followed by a lie. It also happens to be one of the oldest tricks in the Book employed by satan and his followers. And, if engaged in by Believers, it can potentially bury itself deep within us. And, that’s what Jesus is telling us in Mark’s Gospel. As the Ultimate Coach and Mentor, He is telling us to ignore it, move past it, and don’t engage in it. There is no upside to arguing with the devil. We are called to Remember what Christ did for us and who He says that we are – that is always where the Truth lives and the only thing that matters. With a Grateful heart, we can walk down the boulevards of this world without listening the hecklers from the city building windows on either side of us. Their goal is only to stop us from getting from one end of the road to the other. They want to stop us from achieving God’s plans for us in our Earthly-lives by planting the seeds in our hearts of, “unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, and folly.” Smack talk’s only power over us is that which we give to it – otherwise, it’s powerless against us. So, we are to tune it out! In the end, we only need to look at the Eternal Results and let those Results speak for themselves. When we look back on this world from Heaven resting in the shadow of our Savior’s Wings, we will stand victorious in the face of all of the prior smack talk. We’ve seen what happens when we “engage” with the smack talk through the example of Adam and Eve – it doesn’t end well. By simply ignoring the serpent and/or calling on God to intervene in satan’s attempts at deception in the Garden of Eden, they would have been safe and the Book would have gone in a much different direction. Let’s be sure to walk in the direction of Truth always – and, into the arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who sees us with a permanence that never waivers. Sin is bad, but Christ is enough. We were bought with a price and it’s time to make satan pay for what he’s done – by ignoring him and leaving his clean-up and disposal to God.