If one were to take a walk in the coastal forests of the Pacific Northwest right now, this delicate wildflower might be seen. It is a wildflower with petal-like sepals that being swept back make it look as if the flower were inside out! Its official name is, “Vancouveria Hexandra,” named after the British explorer, Captain George Vancouver. But I prefer the more creative name of “Inside Out.”
Today’s verse has an inside and an outside. The Lord is speaking to the Pharisees who challenged Him about following their ceremonial laws. These religious leaders had burdened the people with a crippling weight of laws. Jesus pointed out that laws and policies do not have the power to change what is on the inside. What sullies and makes one dirty is not anything on the outside of man. It is the evil that comes from inside (verse 23). One can change laws, leaders or levels of education and privilege but none of this will change the core problem; an unclean heart.
In a troubled world where social injustice is on everyone’s mind, I do not want to be “inside out.” The core problem is not on the outside but on the inside of all of us. Lasting change is only possible when Christ makes us a “new creation” in Him (II Cor. 5:17). My most loving unselfish response is to point others to the One who can change a heart for all eternity. What an incredible shame if in addressing the outside of man I miss the inside! What good would it be to gain the whole world but lose one’s soul? (Mark 8:36)
Thank you Lord, for changing me on the inside.