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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sometimes Religious People Just Don't Get It

I don't understand how people who say they love Jesus will condemn others when their interpretation of the Bible is different. I don't understand how they can demonize others who also believe in God. I don't understand why they don't see that our love for one another should always prevail when we think of each other. I don't understand why we don't realize how important people are to God.

Such is the case of the story found in Matthew 9. A man with a withered hand is in the synagogue. The question is asked whether it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. The Pharisees are there to condemn Jesus or welcome Him among their ranks. He either joins them in keeping the law as they have always thought it should be kept or He opposes them by breaking the law.

The law of the Sabbath said that you could not treat a sick person so that his illness improved. You could keep him at the same level of sickness but not improve his condition. Improving his condition was considered work. Jesus related it to sheep. Their law would allow them to get a sheep out of a pit without considering it work. They did not understand that a person is more important than a sheep to God.

Here was a man with a withered hand. His hand was not life threatening. His hand could have waited until the next day. Yet, Jesus heals him to show that this man is more important than their law. This causes the Pharisees to conspire to destroy Jesus.

We have plenty of people coming to our churches with withered hands. They are people who have addictions. They are those who are captured by their sins. They are those who use bad language and drink strange brews to excess. Lots or religious people don't want them around. They want them to comply with the way church should be before coming to any worship service. These religious people can't see that these people are much more valuable to God than making sure that everyone who comes to the church acts right.

God help us if we are not helping one another. God help us if we are not loving one another. God help us indeed.

Romans 13:8-10 (ESV)
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet, " and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

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