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Is Your Cup Clean Both Inside & Out?

Matthew 23:25-26 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

I witnessed an old man fall to the ground from my automobile and the contents of his shopping bag spilled onto the ground. I stopped the car and got out to help him. Apples were rolling, lemons, and various items all strewn about on the concrete ground. I knelt by his side and asked if he was okay. He nodded, I looked and made a quick medical assessment. Nothing appeared broken. While doing this, he was on the sidewalk in a shopping center. People milled around, no one stopped, and a couple said, “excuse me” as they hopped over the items on the ground. This was in a beautiful part of town, and all of the “nicely dressed people” hurried to their cars, all in a rush.  Except for one young man. He was around 35, long hair pulled back in a ponytail. Tatoos all over his legs and arms, and he was dressed in shabby clothing, and looked like he was in dire need of a bath. To my inner feelings, I believe he may have been homeless.

He began to pick up all the items and even assisted me with helping the man up to his feet. He stayed awhile then before he parted said, “anything else I can help with?” I thanked him profusely and said we were okay. And the old man managed a “thank you” as well. I then asked the young man if there was anything we could do for him? Even offering him five dollars for his help. And he merely said, “nope, thank you -I’m good.” And headed off into the woods.

I then walked the elderly man to his car- and asked him several other questions. After I was assured, he was in no imminent medical danger, and that he was okay after a foolish “misstep” that resulted in a benign tumble, I smiled and said, “take care of yourself.”  But before I departed the older gentleman said to me, “You know something miss? God forgive me, but that young man didn’t look the type that would stop to help. I would have been afraid of him under different circumstances. You never know. I guess appearances are tricky like that. May God forgive me for thinking that way.” That was a prolific whopper of a statement, and one sadly that so many are guilty of.

1 Samuel 16: But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

As I drove away, I confessed in my heart that I’ve been guilty of such thoughts at various times in my lifetime too. We are all human and can fundamentally draw conclusions based solely on someone’s looks. Something that we are warned about in the Bible many times over. If we’re honest, we have all had such thoughts at one time or another.

While our spirit inwardly may be hidden from others- it can be reflected in our behavior which invariably will make it visible. Serving God in full capacity is utilizing and optimizing our spirit, which is to say – engaging in a way the Holy Spirit purports and proposes we do. God knows our heart and our soul – we should only act accordingly and then others shall see the goodness of the LORD through our actions and His light at all times.

1 Corinthians 2:10-11 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

The proof was in what had happened today. All the very well-dressed proper ladies and gentlemen rushing by didn’t seem to care about the old man on the ground. Nope! They stepped very politely around us – some even saying, “Excuse me – pardon me” in the process- but never interacting or connecting to the scene in front of their very eyes. Kind of like the good Samaritan story- huh? (Luke 10:30-37).

Here in this modern-day true story was that young man with shoddy shoes, clothing that was stained and ripped, long knotty unkempt hair. Yet he stopped and helped. Gathering the items from the ground gathering them ever so gently and methodically placing them securely into the shopping bag. Afterwards, he patiently stood by waiting to see if he could assist us further. And then, took off for the woods.

Luke 11:39 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.

Made me cry a little in the car driving home – I said a prayer for that man who took off for the woods. Made me happy knowing there are still others out there who are compassionate in this world. And made me sad for those who are seemingly hardened and oblivious to their surroundings. Okay, perhaps some were in a rush, maybe they were having a bad day. Or still others who may be leery to stop in this day and age, fearful maybe. But reasons or no reasons, it still made me sad to have witnessed such cold cavalier behavior up close and personal.

Is your cup clean inside and out? Do you walk beautifully dressed and pander to those who may help you get further in life, and ignore those who can’t? Have you ever made a first impression based on their appearance alone?

God knows our hearts and knows our desires and needs – He knows what we’re thinking. We can’t fool Him; we can only fool ourselves in the process, and that is the biggest and saddest mistake we can make in any given situation.

“Father, God – may I always rely on my inner spirit and Your guidance in all I do, in all I attempt to do, and all I will continue to do in Your honor, in Your name, and in Your Word, may I be careful not to loop someone into a category based solely on their appearance, or make an assumption based on the outside, thank You for Your Spirit always bringing me awareness, and providing more opportunities to serve You, and the daily ways I can harness Your word around my heart deeper each day, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”


C D SWANSON is an Author and freelance writer, a contributor to various websites, a member of Faithwriters, and has a website. It is her greatest joy to write what’s in her heart, and thus her favorite form of expression is in her devotionals. She and her husband share a deep love of God and dote on their fur baby Mickey. Retired Director from Long Term Healthcare, she continues to be an advocate for many. To check out other writings of this author you can go here:

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