“Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” (Matthew 15:10-11)
What does Jesus mean by 'defile'?Jesus continues to teach regarding the Pharisees issue with Jesus' followers washing their hands before eating:
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!" (Matt. 15:1-2)Regarding becoming defiled: We must ask: Who is the subject of this statement? If Jesus is speaking of the physical body - as the Pharisees are most interested in the cleanliness of the physical body - then why wouldn't eating with dirty hands - and thus ingesting dirt and bacteria - make a person 'defiled'?
Because Jesus is not speaking of the physical body here. If he was, there would be no question of whether eating with dirty hands would be unclean - and thereby defiling.
Rather, Jesus is speaking of the person within: The spirit-person who is operating the temporary physical body. This person does not become unclean if the body eats food that is contaminated.
Why? Because the spirit-person within is not the physical body. The person Jesus is speaking of - the spiritual person within - is separate from the physical body.
What does he mean by 'what comes out of his mouth'?So what could come out of a person's mouth? Words. Jesus is speaking of what is being spoken to others.
And how does this make the spirit-person within 'unclean' according to Jesus?
Because others hear those words, and they and they are affected by those words. The words we speak go into a person's ears and then to their brain and mind. From there, they can affect that person within.
If the words we speak are self-centered - they speak about materialism - these words will influence those who hear those words in a materialistic manner.
Those who hear these words become influenced in one respect or another.
And it is this influence we have upon others that makes us 'unclean' according to Jesus.
How does the spirit become 'defiled'?The physical realm is upside-down when compared to the spiritual realm. In the material realm, we consider that everything revolves around ourselves - meaning our physical bodies.
When we think of being defiled, we think of ourselves as our physical bodies. We think of those physical things that might make our bodies defiled.
But in our real composition as a spirit-person - becoming defiled is a matter of consciousness.
In our pure state, we are connected to and depending upon the Supreme Being - and we are loving the Supreme Being's children. This means the relevance - or focus - regards others instead of ourselves. In the context of the spiritual realm, activities that affect others' spiritual lives in a negative way are considered bad and activities that affect others' spiritual lives in a positive way are considered good activities.
This is what Jesus is speaking of here. Jesus is teaching his students to become conscious of others and what they speak to others. This is the first step in becoming aware of the Supreme Being.
We cannot become purified when we believe the universe revolves around ourselves. Such a consciousness is a contradiction to the pure state of the spirit. Awareness of the Supreme Being requires understanding that we are not the center of the universe: The Supreme Being is the center of the universe. This is what 'Supreme Being' or 'God' means.
This is precisely why each of us is here in the physical realm wearing these temporary physical bodies without the ability to see the Supreme Being: Because we wanted to be supreme. We wanted to be the center of the universe.
But since that post was already occupied by the Supreme Being - and because the Supreme Being is a beautiful loving person, the Supreme Being gave us a facility to enable us to pretend we are the center of the universe.
He had to also hide out from us. We couldn't very well think we were the center of the universe as long as we had to face the real center of the universe, could we? We couldn't pretend to be perfect as long as the Perfect Person was visible, could we?
So the Supreme Being designed this temporary physical body - which we drive much as a person drives an automobile - with senses and a mind that could not perceive the spiritual realm. He had to design an illusory situation so that we would forget our real identity as one of His loving servants.
Is this like a dream?When we are dreaming we completely forget our waking identities. If we couldn't, we could not really get lost in the dream, could we? So when we dream, we will identify ourselves according to our dreamscape. We might have a completely different identity in our dream.
This facility of dreaming is comparable to the facility of the physical realm except these physical bodies have a more concrete molecular substance - unlike the more subtle substance of the mind that takes place within our dreams.
But where ever we may be - whether dreaming or within a physical body or not - our words and actions will influence others. Thus if we care about others - and their spiritual lives - we will be careful about the words that come from our mouths.
The wisest thing to do with our mouths is to praise the Supreme Being and His Names. This is an ancient practice that can purify the spirit-person within as well as anyone who hears them.