By Pastor Mark Collins
United Methodist Church
“And he said, that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Mark 7:20-23 (KJV)
I’m sure you have noticed in the news today there are way more bad stories then good ones. We often wonder how people can be so mean. Why do people purposely hurt others? There have been attempts to change the heart of people from mean and nasty to loving and caring. One way that I have noticed is a move to change the language that’s being used.
In our society today there is a push for political correctness. To bring about a moral revolution by changing the way people speak and use words. Somehow society seems to think they can bring about a change of heart by forcing a change of language. Any words or phrases used that even hint at racism, sexism, or insults are serious sins in this new morality, which is not new. Billy Graham said “This is not a new morality, this is the old immorality.” You know if it feels good do it or it’s all about me. I recently read an article that used the term “radical new morality” which talked of the acceptance of beliefs and philosophies that most would have not tolerated just a few decades ago. They now are not only accepted but used as platforms and advertisements to promote themselves or products.
Do we really think that we can change the heart by forcing the change of someone’s language and use of words? Are we so naive that we believe if we can just make a person use words that are comforting and uplifting to others, then we will all get along? This is a nice thought but in reality pressure to change can make a person resentful and bitter. We don’t like to be told what to do; remember we’ve been taught to do what feels good and what benefits ourselves. You are probably thinking ‘if one of my children hurt the other, then I made him say I’m sorry; isn’t that the same?’ If that’s all that was done, yes, but I would back it up with discipline and an atmosphere of love and compassion. They were neither left to their own reckoning nor raised in an environment contrary to the teaching they received.
I have seen on the news where some famous TV person slips up and says something offensive and had to apologize or was forced to resign. Then on the same station, there are shows that can use similar content and it’s seen as entertainment. We wonder why people act this way and they say the church is full of hypocrites. How can we expect society to behave when their minds are being filled with filth? There are those who can face temptation and resist it, but for the majority certain temptations can be overwhelming. It’s like telling a child they can’t have a cookie before lunch and then sitting the jar full of cookies on the table and leaving the room. If we expect others to speak with correctness, then we need to set an example for them to follow and do our best to create such an environment.
Jesus said it is what comes from within that defiles a person, out of the heart comes evil, pride, and yes the language we use. I remember when I trusted in Christ, I gave Him my heart and the first act of obedience was to clean up my language. I realized I could not do this on my own. If you want to see a change of language then it must come from a change of heart. I don’t know of any other way a person can truthfully change unless he has been cleansed by the Blood of Christ, this cleansing starts from within. As Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”
We can allow the filth of the world to corrupt our minds or we can allow Jesus to keep our hearts pure. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Let us trust in Christ alone to change our heart and then our language.