Continuing with our thoughts on the religiously minded, I am amazed how the rules change when they have to apply it to themselves. At least the Pharisees did what they insisted everyone else must do, even if they did it from a shallow heart. Today, the religious throw stones, sling mud, point fingers, shout at people through megaphones and accuse on so many different levels but when they find themselves in that same place they start singing about grace. That's great that they get that revelation of God's grace but they need to apply it to other people as well. I am not kidding, there are Christians who are on the prowl to catch others doing things they consider to be wrong. They are like the "righteous" police who can't wait to find someone in the wrong so they can blow the whistle on them. What a very sad existence.
When Jesus was confronted by these people he didn't argue with them, he simply pointed out how silly they were being. Jesus ran into some Pharisees in a synagogue he was visiting. They wanted to trap him in an obvious sin. There was a man present with a shriveled hand. Knowing Jesus was a healer they asked the question, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" I am sure that was a forbidden activity in their large definition of the law and they knew Jesus would not be able to resist. How gleeful they must have been at their cleverness. Now look closely at Jesus' response:
"If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." (Matthew 12:11-12)
Jesus simply points out what any of them would have done on their farm. None of them would have been willing to lose a sheep because of a man's definition of what work was or was not. Think of how petty one could get in defining what constitutes work. That does not mean we should not keep the Sabbath day holy, set aside for the purpose of gathering and worship. The Word states, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25) But I digress; this is only one example of the law that became twisted. We have our own man-made laws today that we treat as if they are from the Holy Scripture but are only a definition of our interpretation. We make people suffer because of these silly things. We crucify people over nothing. We leave them with a "shriveled hand" because it isn't convenient or its the wrong time or its the wrong place.
We are so silly, failing to understand that the law, which Jesus came to fulfill not abolish, was given to strengthen our relationship with God and our neighbours. The religiously minded have miss the point of the Spirit writing that law on our heart so that it has become a living, active thing in us. On paper it is only a document that is lived externally and causes a lot of damage. On our heart it is a powerful thing that the Spirit uses to guide us in all of our relationships, so that we are less and Christ is more and where we consider ourselves less important than our neighbour. They law written on our hearts make people, not things, activities or rules, the most important because they are the most important to our Father. If our rules are destroying people instead of drawing them closer to our Father then we have become religiously minded and we are prat of the problem instead of part of the solution.
Nothing in our lives is more important than the love and compassion our Father has for people. The command about the Sabbath was to facilitate the worship of Jehovah and to provide rest from work for the benefit of people. To turn around and make that command a tool to prolong suffering, to withhold compassion, to avoid assisting another human being goes against the purpose and spirit of the command. What better way to worship then to show such compassion to the suffering. As I stated yesterday, the religiously minded is missing the point. I know that I for one desire to be part of God's solution for mankind's suffering not part of the problem with which he is dealing. Ask the Spirit to show you your own heart in this matter. Is there anything you have been twisting so that it is now contrary to the Father's purpose? People need to be our priority because they are Jesus' priority. Compassion and sacrifice for others is a cornerstone of our service to Jesus. Don't let a bunch of cultural rules distract you from what God is doing. Don't deny grace for others until you need it for yourself. Apply to others today what you yourself know that you need; compassion, love, mercy and grace.