Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 15 It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”
17 Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. 18 “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? 19 Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)
20 And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” – Mark 7:14-23
Maybe you’re a fan of Dumb and Dumber, Monty Python, or some other silly comedy. I’m not. I just don’t get humor that is based on silliness. Some of those, moreover, border on profane foolishness. While I don’t consider myself a prude, I just can’t get over the threshold of suspending disbelief or enjoying those kinds of comedy.
While I don’t want to condemn anyone who happens to like those kinds of movies and comedy schtick, I do want to offer a question. Do these not border on foolishness? Profane and godless silliness does not seem to flow from a heart filled with Christ.
Here, however, I must confess: I have my own low thresholds of entertainment. Boston Legal, and Blacklist used to be my go-to entertainment choices. Now it’s British murder mysteries or YouTube videos of men cutting down very large trees and the like.
When the desire for any of these things gets in the way of our devotion to God, however, we need more than to be questioned. We need to be stopped. While things that we eat don’t go to our spiritual hearts, things we watch and think about do go to our minds and souls. They can plant seeds of godlessness and disregard for people. They can supplant love for God, and a view of people as objects for our love.
When we view life as a parade of escapist entertainment options, we endanger our souls. To be bored is certainly not a welcome experience. But it is not the worst thing we can endure. Far worse is when seeds of adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness are planted in our hearts by what we watch, read, and think about.
We are told to think about “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). There is a promise for those who do this: “and the God of peace will be with you.”
I need Him these days. And his peace.