A few years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled, “three ways to avoid being offended“. I pulled it up today because, well, do I have to even explain it?
Then, I read this great thought by Ann Voskamp on Instagram. I had to repost it because her words connected with me so deeply.
“What we need right now is less outrage and more outreach.” (the whole article is linked here)
Man, I was feeling pret-ty (emphasis on the little dash pause) good reading my blog post and Ann’s words, filling my chest cavity with that, “Yeah, you tell ’em!” huffy puffiness.
Then a few minutes later I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, and guess what?
I started getting offended. Bristling. Ruffling my feathers.
In Matthew 15 and Mark 7, the Pharisees were feeling a more than a little offended about Jesus (weren’t they always?) — they wanted to point out that Jesus and his disciples were eating food with “defiled” (unwashed) hands. They were super concerned about the disciples’ eating habits and whether or not they were following the “rules”.
Immediately, Jesus rebuked them (side note – can you imagine being rebuked by Jesus? Um.). Basically, he said they were too worried about their own traditions and stuff rather than the commands of God. They were getting all wrapped up in what OTHER people were doing instead of looking at their own hearts.
Okay. So THAT is super convicting.
In the NIV version, Jesus actually says, “ARE YOU SO DULL?”
As in, “Are you DUMB? Seriously?”
Jesus then continues by saying (Carrie paraphrase), “Listen here. It’s what is coming OUT of you that is defiling you. Your evil thoughts come from your hearts, guys.”
Matthew 12:34 says that the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
And, of course, I knew that Jesus had to change my attitude. So I sat at His feet and asked Him to redirect my heart AWAY from Facebook and my little snitty fit and back to Him.
So, how do I know I might have a “heart” problem on the inside?
Here are a few things I grabbed from my study of Matthew 15:1-20 and Mark 7:1-23.
There’s a heart problem when…
- …I emphasize MY goodness — and emphasize OTHER PEOPLE’S sin. When I point out other people’s mess ups, forgetting that I am saved by COMPLETE GRACE and that I mess up all the time, there’s a heart problem. I notice that it’s easier to look at the stupid-ness of other people because then I can ignore my own stupid-ness. But I should really be concentrating on Carrie’s relationship with God and keeping my eyes on HIM.
- …I carefully follow certain religious practices while being distant from JESUS. There are a lot of “rules” I can follow that make me LOOK like I’m a Jesus follower while completely IGNORING my relationship with Jesus. I can post bible verses, go to bible study, follow the Ten Commandments, go to church —> I can do all the things but have an absolutely DEAD and NONEXISTENT relationship with Jesus himself. If I know that to be true (because we always know the real truth about ourselves) then there’s definitely a heart problem.
- …I care more about my reputation than my character. OUCHIE. This is a tough one. If I am more worried about what others “think” about my actions than the fruit of the Spirit working in and through me, there’s a HEART problem.
You see, GOD’S traditions shine a spotlight on God’s Word. There are plenty of “preferences” we have and man’s rules that we’ve decided everyone around us should follow. I can easily get in a tizzy when I see people making choices I think I would NEVER make (very funny, Carrie — you mess up ALL THE TIME).
I can’t cancel the word of God for the sake of my own traditions. What comes out of my mouth — including what I post/type on social media — can defile me.
If we try and lead the world by our own great rules and ideas, we are the blind leading the blind. But if we say, like Paul, “Follow me as I follow Christ”, and then spend actual TIME with Jesus through prayer and time in His Word, what SHOULD come out is Jesus.
And that means I realize just how frail and human I am. It keeps me from pointing fingers at everyone else. It helps me sit at the feet of Jesus and soak in Him.
There’s a lot of hurtful stuff happening right now. So when I feel that little bristle coming on, I take my eyes off of the thing that’s making me mad and put my eyes back on the One who created all things.
I want what’s on MY INSIDE to be more like THAT GUY.
Carrie Wisehart is an author, teacher, speaker, and joy-choose living the Best Day Ever Adventure. In 2017 she wrote a book about HOW you can choose the Best Day Ever Adventure, and you can grab it HERE.
Carrie and her husband, Brady, do daily video devotionals on Facebook and YouTube called “Obey Today”. They are short, 10 minute videos about feasting on the food that comes from living in obedience to Jesus Christ. You can check them out HERE.