A Clean Heart
The words from our mouth show the condition of our heart.
A basin of water, a bar of soap, a towel, and a banana.
But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' Matthew 15:18 (NIV)
(In very dramatic fashion, begin by washing and drying your hands. Then take out the banana, peel it, and take a bite before beginning your sermon.)
Do you ever forget to wash your hands before eating? Oh, I think that we all forget occasionally. I am sure that it is a good thing to wash your hands before eating, but, according to Jesus, there are some other things that are far more important.
The religious leaders during the time Jesus lived were very concerned about cleanliness. They had many religious laws and traditions which they followed to make sure that nothing unclean went into their mouth. One day some of these religious leaders asked Jesus why his disciples were not keeping their tradition of washing their hands before they ate. (I guess Jesus' disciples sometimes forgot like you and I do.) Jesus answered these religious leaders by telling them that what comes out of your mouth is more important than what you put into it. He said that the words that come out of your mouth come from your heart and those words show whether you are clean or unclean.
I am sure that you have heard the children's rhyme that says, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." That sounds nice, but it just isn't true. Words can hurt. We can all remember a time when we have been hurt by someone's mean and hateful words. God hears every word we say and he knows every thought we have in our heart. It is very important for us to be careful about the things we think and say, because hateful words come from an unclean heart.