“Clean in, clean out!” That is the mantra that my department at Geisinger Medical Center is known for. I currently work in the Infection Control department and one of our main focuses with a goal of preventing hospital-acquired infections is hand hygiene. We attempt to advance hand-washing through several means. One is through numerous posters and signs throughout the hospital, anywhere from staff bathrooms to elevators. We also do undercover hand-washing observations to see which units of the hospital need some education/training. We also use something called a Surewash machine. This unit instructs people on the 6 different positions that are necessary to clean every surface of our hands and then uses video-game technology to see who can simulate washing their hands in front of a screen in the most thorough and quickest way.
I recently read this passage in Mark 7 and made the comment to Amy that this chapter is the most anti-Infection Control portion of Scripture. In verses 1 and 2 we read, “Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.” (I honestly have to laugh about the irony of this passage given my profession!) When they came to Jesus and complained, he went on to say, “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
He then goes on to explain the meaning of His response. Jesus elaborately explains that the things that truly defile a man are the sins that flow out of an evil heart, not the temporal risk of getting sick by not washing your hands. The sins of the heart is what the Pharisees and us as well need to worry about. There is some real practical application for us as well. How many times do we worry about what the outside looks like and neglect our actual hearts? We dress sharp for church, put a big smile on and go through the outward charade of looking like a godly Christian. Yet God sees right through that to what is going on in our hearts. The principle is there in Scripture-clean up the inside the and outside will follow. Unfortunately hell will be full of people who had clean exteriors but their hearts were far from God.