I’ve been reading and thinking a lot lately about the hypocrisy in the church and judgment vs. tolerance. I came across this passage in Luke that I think makes some interesting points:
‘But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath: and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath.” The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom satan has bound – think of it – for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”’
The callousness of the synagogue ruler astounds me. Can you imagine the uproar if hospitals were closed one day of the week? Picture being sick for eighteen years and suddenly you have access to the miracle cure. Would you want to wait even one more minute?
The Pharisees took the Lord’s commandment and warped it to fit their own end. They changed the rules, manipulating the Law of God and then imposed their own ideals on the people.
Don’t we as Christians do that sometimes? Sometimes we make up the rules and when someone breaks one of those rules, it’s like God no longer has our permission to work in their lives.
Jesus came to heal the sick, but we get irked when He doesn’t follow our guidelines.
“No Lord, don’t bless her with a Godly boyfriend. I know what she did with her last one and if she were truly repentant, she would never date again and only focus on You.”
“God, why did you give him the job at the church instead of me? He goes out for drinks with his friends once a week and I haven’t touched alcohol in years.”
We Christians labor under the delusion that people have to attain a certain level of holiness before they are worthy of God’s healing power in their lives. We weigh others in our own scales and find them wanting, then we get indignant when God begins transforming them. Or sometimes, we just choose to reject their confession of faith and refuse to love and accept them as a brother or sister in Christ.
Like the Synagogue ruler, we tell them they can only be healed if they are seeking God the way we believe they should.
I love when Jesus says “think of it.”
We should never allow our religious regulations to crowd out compassion. It doesn’t matter if someone is committing the most offensive, heinous sin in the world. That only means they are all the more ill, all the more in need of God.
Think of it.
Think of being so lost you don’t even know you’re lost; so trapped in sin that you’ve fooled yourself into thinking you’re ok and don’t need to change. Think of living a life apart from God.
Do we really want to stand in the way of Jesus’ healing work in someone’s life just because He isn’t going about it the way we think He should? Are we that conceited? That uncompassionate?
Have you ever told someone to come back when it’s no longer ‘the Sabbath’? You know, after they’ve cleaned themselves up a bit? Or are you letting love and compassion govern your actions and bringing people to Jesus to be healed?
I know I’ve been guilty of holding people to my standards instead of God’s. Well, no more. I’m throwing out my scale, because it’s God’s opinion that matters, not mine.