Again Jesus called the crowd to him. He said, “Listen to me, everyone. Understand this. Nothing outside of you can make you ‘unclean’ by going into you. It is what comes out of you that makes you ‘unclean.’ “ Mark 7:14-16 (NIRV) taken from today’s Gospel.
Negativity. Humor me for a bit, but isn’t negativity the fast emerging trend nowadays? Apparently to the teenagers (and the teenagers at heart), it’s ‘cool’.
This is taken from one of my favorite comics online before, and the strip above is on the top of my charts. Makes me laugh all the time. Anger and bitterness. I could very much relate to the kid holding the gun — only a metaphor, ok? I was an angry kid — but that was way before. I’m a very different person now. Last time I checked, I’m just the happy girl surrounded by the anger, the bitterness, the cynical, the suicidal, and all the negativity. Nowadays, I’m that smiley kid with the red balloon being smacked around.
Continuing on to today’s Gospel: Then He left the crowd and entered the house. His disciples asked Him about his teaching. “Don’t you understand?” Jesus asked. “Don’t you see? Nothing that enters people from the outside can make them ‘unclean.’ It doesn’t go into the heart. It goes into the stomach. Then it goes out of the body.” In saying this, Jesus was calling all foods ‘clean.’ “ He went on to say, “What comes out of people makes them ‘unclean.’ Evil thoughts come from the inside, from people’s hearts. So do sexual sins, stealing and murder. Adultery, greed, hate and cheating come from people’s hearts too. So do desires that are not pure, and wanting what belongs to others. And so do telling lies about others and being proud and being foolish. All those evil things come from inside a person. They make him ‘unclean.’ ” Mark 7:17-23 (NIRV)
It proves to be an everyday challenge to be surrounded by negativity uninfluenced. Certain things bother us, certain negative actions or words linger in our memory and if we’re not careful, they’ll enter our hearts.
So, “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
We may constantly want to better ourselves — to grow in the light of Christ because we chose this path for ourselves — to free ourselves from negative emotions, but how can we when are surrounded by it everyday? Life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, and we cannot always be skipping along to cheery music carrying that red balloon. When we come face to face with negativity that wants to bring us down, how do we respond?
Bob Gass writes: “You can’t control the handicaps, puzzles, and persecution that characterize your journey, but you can control whether or not you’ll respond with frustration, despair and rejection. You can’t always avoid getting knocked down, but you can determine whether or not you get knocked out. Refusing to stay down denies your enemy permission to sabotage your destiny.
So, yes. How do we respond? Well to help explain a point without the use of words, I took the liberty to make my own version of that smiley kid with a balloon — the sequel. Enjoy!