Are you all shiny on the outside and rotten on the inside?

Matthew 5:17-20

Bruised apple - shiny on the outside rotten on the InsidePeople can keep the law and appear shiny on the outside – but on the inside is the rot of hatred, racism, guilt, distrust…….

Background

Jesus came to fulfil the law and not to abolish it? What did he mean?

Jesus was actually talking about religious law.

He was reassuring the people who were listening that he was coming to build on what had been, not to completely start again. Yes, Jesus was a revolutionary, he did things that faithful Jews wouldn’t dream of. Talking to people who were from different faiths, different countries, he spoke to those that the Jewish law claimed were unclean, he touched them and healed them. Jesus was a devout Jew he believed in the prophets, he believed in the law, but he believed it needed challenging, and he was certainly challenging the Pharisees and what they believed to be most important.

Jesus was a Jew, and he adhered to the Jewish Law that he was brought up with.

The Laws of Moses – The 10 Commandments

The Laws about what you should wear and what you should eat.

The Laws about clean and unclean people.

The laws were many.

Jesus was saying that somethings or situations were more important than the “least of these commands.”

He was also telling us that until he died things wouldn’t change.

Jesus warned us that outward signs of righteousness weren’t necessarily a sign of what was going on in the inside.

What was more important? ––

Eating the right food or feeding the poor?

Was wearing the right clothes more important than helping someone thought to be unclean?

Was it more important to been seen to be doing the right thing, or to do the right thing?

You could see if someone killed another person?

But can you see if someone was carrying the anger and hatred that drove the person to do it?

What is on the inside matters. Eventually it will show on the outside.

So, isn’t it better to sort the inside before it completely ruins your life?

The Pharisees were more interested in the outward signs in people’s lives. They taught people about the outward signs. But took no notice of what was going on inside which was much more important.

How does it apply to us?

If we had a lovely shiny red apple.. an apple that looked tasty.

Then when we bit into it, the inside was bitter, nasty, rotten to the core.

Would it be fit to eat? No. It wouldn’t be fit for purpose. We couldn’t eat it. But more than that if it was left the rot would show on the outside and would affect the other apples.

We all have a purpose in life – but if we aren’t right on the inside (no matter how shiny we are on the outside). It will have a knock on effect in our lives.

Friendships will suffer – if we tell lies, for example: If we tell a lie to our friend – we will feel guilty and scared of being found out, carrying that guilt around will make us act differently – it will become destructive to our relationship.

If we aren’t right on the inside – hatred, racism, distrust, doubt, guilt. All make us rotten on the inside and it can make others rotten too.

It can affect our “school” work, our sleep, our health.

We won’t be able to be the person God created us to be.

But more than that Jesus knows that if we don’t let go and change our inside lives then it will take over our lives, and the longer it goes on the more damage it does to us, and those around us.

Jesus in fulfilling the law - brought with him forgiveness for ourselves and others - a way to change the inside. It’s important that we recognise when our inside is beginning to become rotten, and ask for God’s help to change.

So, would you rather be a shiny apple with rotten core, or a bit noticeably bruised on the outside (as no-one is perfect) and loving, kind, generous, trusting, and forgiving on the inside…?

I wonder?

Michelle
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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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