It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what
comes from your heart.” Mark 7:15
The fundamental question about being religious is not what a person ‘does’ but what a person ‘is’. If a thief goes to pray his prayer is wrong because prayer cannot be born out of a heart that has been deceiving, stealing, lying and harming. A person needs to have only one weakness and out of that one weakness all others are born. This single weakness will follow the person like a shadow. Whatsoever is done will be coloured by it. So the basic thing in religion is not what to ‘do’ but what to ‘be’. ‘Being’ is the innermost core, ‘doing’ is what is on the surface. A person can ‘be’ without doing anything but cannot ‘be’ without the being. Doing is secondary and dispensable being is vital.
Jesus talks about ‘being’ and how to transform it whereas religions talk about ‘doing’. Jesus is concerned about ‘being’, morality is concerned about ‘doing’. This is the reason he gave scant regard to the observance of purity rituals of his day. The complaint against him was that he did not observe the Sabbath laws. That He did not insist upon disciples to fast or observe the rituals of cleansing and laws about purity. In fact He even condemned those who insisted upon the pharisaic observance of the Law as hypocrites.
The real issue is not whether the food consumed is pure or not. If whether an untouchable has touched it or if a woman who is having her periods has passed by and her shadow has fallen upon it. The question is not about what is eaten but what is brought out. How what is taken in is transformed reveals the purity of the person.
A lotus is born in a dirty and stinky pond but the lotus transforms what it absorbs. For a lotus nothing is impure because it has the transforming power within. If the transforming power is present within a person, a lotus will be born even though it absorbs dirt. But if this power is absent, even if gold is absorbed it comes out as mud. What goes in takes the quality of the being and comes out.
Jesus pronounces that it is not what goes into a person that defiles but what is done with it. Insults will never defile a person but whether it has been transformed into love or hate reveals the purity of the being. The emphasis of Jesus is not to be too concerned about the nature of things that are external but whether there is the capability to transform what goes in.
What comes out makes known the quality of what is within. If anger emanates from within then there is sickness inside. If hatred arises it reveals that there is no wholeness within. If love compassion and light springs up then it shows that there is wholeness in the being. Purity comes from within. Only when change and transformation occur within will goodness, love and purity will blossom. True purity is does not come from what a person does but what a person is.