Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.'” (Matthew 15:10-11 NIV)
Promoters of hate and discontent are going to come, but woe to the reapers of that seed. The Bible cites examples of discord organizers. The first is Satan, the great dragon. He stirred rebellion among a third of heaven’s angels (Revelation 12:4, 9). Korah and Absalom are two more sowers of discontent. In Numbers 16, Korah’s self-promotion convinced 250 elders that he, Dathan and Abiram were the ones to lead Israel. After so many years wandering in the wilderness and eating manna, causing hate and discontent was easy. For his rebellion against Moses and Aaron, Korah and his followers paid a terrible price.
Absalom, son of David, disguised his hatred for his father. He waited for the opportunity to stir discontent for the king’s rule. Sowing seeds of dissatisfaction while appearing regal, was his method to overthrow his father. Forced to flee for his life, David’s reign and his life appeared to be almost over. However, it was Absalom who died (2 Samuel 14-18). The Lord intervened. God opposed the sowers of hate and discontent, Satan, Korah and Absalom, by actively defending his established order.
Fascists like Adolph Hitler or Communists like Mao Tse-Tung were skilled in the ways of Absalom and Korah. Inciting the people is the devil’s prescription for seizing power, but there is a big price to pay.
But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’… (Matthew 15:18-19)
The scene I describe is happening a lot recently. As the speaker walked toward the center stage, she was greeted by boos and hisses. She was invited to speak on behalf of one side of the debate about guns in the hands of private citizens. So what did those who protested gun violence have to say? Someone from the audience rushed the stage and shouted “Burn her!” The “her” was Dana Loesch, spokeswoman for the gun owner’s rights organization, the NRA. Ms. Loesch managed to make her argument amid the hostility but confessed later she would not have been able to exit safely were it not for her security detail.
Think of this for a moment. Those vehemently opposed to guns, spewed violence, hatred and discord. This proves it is not guns that kill people, but people do.
Divisive issues of our day are many. Spurred on by the media’s quest for high ratings, the image is the same: angry protesters, placards with hate-filled slogans, shouted obscenities and threats. A few sit back and smile. They want the fires, the physical beatings and the destruction for they sowed the seeds. The murder and slander, the evil thoughts and the false witness came from their heart and spread like a virus.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said,
The good man brings good things out of the good stored in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)
No culture has ever survived the level of hatred, slander and violence currently spread across America. Murderous thoughts cannot be outlawed by legislation. Only Christ can change the heart (ex. Acts 7:59- 8:1).
Hatred and slander are manifestations of a heart mastered by sin, just as love is evidence of a heart God’s Spirit has mastered.
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” (Matthew 5:21-22a)
Anger directed at our brother and murder come from the same polluted well. Instead of hate, rebellion and dissatisfaction, if we sow love and contentment we will reap a harvest of peace, and, in the process, we shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9).