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Sloshing Sins

Sloshing Sins

Matthew 15:11-20

 

“Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.”  Matthew 15:18

 

            One of the most effective illustrations I have ever heard was told at a retreat by the Baptist preacher, Peter Lord.  He had a young lady come up to the platform, and he had in his hand a cup of water.  He instructed the girl to grab the arm that held the cup of water and shake it very hard.  After a moment of hesitation, the girl shook his arm, and water went flying everywhere.  He looked at her and pointedly asked, “What made the glass spill water?”

           

              Immediately she replied, “It spilled water because I shook your arm.”

            “Oh no,” he said, “It spilled water because there was water in the cup.” 

He turned to the rest of us and explained.  “A fellow at work irritates you, but it is not he who irritates you; he just sloshes out the irritation which is already present in your own heart.  Sin originates in you.  A person receives a promotion a little faster than you, and you find that you are fighting jealousy.  That jealousy is inside of you, and all that other person did was bring to the surface what already dwelt in your heart.  No one can provoke inside of you what does not originate there.

            Every human heart needs a deeper cleansing by the Holy Spirit.  We ought to thank God for the person who irritates us or makes us angry or jealous.  That person provides the means for God to teach us something about ourselves.  That irritating person shows the true colors of my heart, and only once my heart is displayed in all of its corruption can it be washed white and clean.

Dennis Kinlaw, This Day with the Master, September 18 (Zondervan, 2003).