Most every translation of Matthew 15:10-20 really waters things down. Jesus talks about how it is what comes out of the heart and the mouth that defile. Before that though, he speaks about those who were more concerned about whether what went in was what defiled. He basically says, what we eat goes in our mouth through our body and then out into the sewers. We know what he’s saying with that. He is pointing out how people want to focus on what is easy to control and point out the wrong – that of eating – rather than what is at the root of what we do – actions from within that hurt, divide, break. The words we say and the actions that are borne out of our internal selves – words and actions that hurt, divide, and break. Verse 19 has quite a list… “For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander…”. We know how these things “smell.”
As I read the passage yesterday morning, I thought of this place. It looks pretty nice. It is a beautiful part of one of my favorite nearby walking places. But here’s what the picture doesn’t reflect. I am not sure what it is but something in this area of the park always smells. Always. Not sure why but it always does, especially during the summer. Today as I walked by on a cool morning, it wasn’t as bad but it sure wasn’t great.