We are all granted the right to “free speech.” But when does free speech cross the line?
Pastor Steve spoke of the Pharisees’ judgment against Christ and His disciples on Sunday from Matthew 15, and how the ceremonial washing of hands was not being adhered to among the disciples. Jesus was quite blunt in His rebuke saying “Why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God?” Jesus goes on to say that it’s not so much whether or not these rituals are performed – like eating kosher food, for example – but how our actions and our words communicate to the outside world what’s really going on in our hearts.
So how does this relate to our present lives? It’s the same concept; it’s just a different style of communication. Today, the evilness of communication comes out through slander and gossip, the passing on of negative information that has the power to darkly influence others and create undue judgment in those that hear it.
There are many seemingly innocuous names for this in our present time – water-cooler talk, office news, the latest buzz. Sometimes it’s as innocent as the latest football game scores or the last episode of a TV show. But when communication turns to “Hey did you hear what … “ –THAT crosses into the area of gossip and slander. As Pastor Steve pointed out, the only reason you might want to bring up the plight or misfortune or circumstance of someone else is when you have a solution to offer. Otherwise, it’s plain old evil speak.
Whenever we see one of those all-too-common signs about washing our hands, perhaps we should think of the Lord’s message while washing our hands: Clean out your hearts to offer solutions and reconciliations in the world. Let it be a holy signal. Clean Hands = Clean Heart.
Psalm 51:10 says it well: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.