The traditions of men are strongly spoken against by Jesus in Mark 7:1-13. Jesus states in verses 9 and 13: “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition . . . Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”
The washing of hands (v. 1-5) is not a bad tradition in itself because it can save the body from destructive contamination. However, to allow the washing of hands before eating food to become such an emphasis that it overtakes other matters of doctrine and conduct which are far more important is a serious problem. Hand washing, if neglected, is not a sin that will damn the soul, but fault-finding of the brethren and judging one another that breaks fellowship and writes others off is a chain that destroys the unity of the spirit. It hinders the commanded blessing God talks about in Psalm 133.
It is a far greater blessing to pray for one another than to constantly find fault with one another. Fault-finding causes our prayers to be hindered and revival to be squashed.
Fault-finding is a serious sin and many Christians do not realize how destructive it is. Of course, major sins must be addressed and rebuked in the spirit of meekness and love. However, many Christians find fault over so many non-essential matters with one another and this makes us no better than the scribes and Pharisees.
In Mark 7: 14 - 20 Jesus told us that it is not what enters into a man that defiles him, but the things which come out of his heart.
In Verses 20-23 Jesus lists the sins of the heart, that when spoken or acted upon, cause a man to be defiled: “And he (Jesus said), That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, and evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Many get so concerned about clean hands, yet are not so concerned about these soul damning sins of the heart.
How sad it is that we make God’s Word of none effect by the rituals and ways that we run our church services and family lives. As Christians, we need to examine the rituals and traditions with which we have been raised to see if they hinder the river of God from flowing freely. They can often negate and stop God’s Word from having full impact in our lives.
Is my knit-picking critical eye, which I regard as spiritual, hindering the flow of the Holy Spirit?
The question the Pharisees and scribes should have asked themselves is: Is there any real evidence that God is moving in my life other than the fact that I wash my hands? Are the sick healed? Devils cast out? Blind receiving sight? Deaf people hearing again? The dead raised up? People being saved and brought closer to God? If not, why not?
God did all these things through Jesus, but the scribes and Pharisees were more concerned about eating with unwashed hands. How petty can we be? Why do we get upset over so many trivial things?