Sunday, October 13, 2013

Devotional 10-13-13

Keep It Simple
I have recently been reading the book of Matthew. It struck me how much emphasis Jesus put on the intent of the law rather than the technicalities. He preached heartfelt obedience over legalistic observance. When questioned by the Sadducees about the greatest commandment, “Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the laws and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV) How simple! And yet over 600 laws and rules had been put in place to govern everyday life. Jesus called the Pharisees and the Sadducees hypocrites because they held others to standards they couldn’t meet themselves.

We still do this today. A few years ago I was talking to a gentleman about church. He told me he attended his wife’s church but was not allowed to join because he smoked! There was also a rule about not drinking alcohol. He thought that was okay ((he didn’t drink), but that the ‘no smoking’ rule was going a little far. I know this is an extreme example. Unfortunately it is this attitude that has made being a Christian synonymous with being a judgmental hypocrite. We all admit we are sinners. Where did we get the idea that someone else’s sin was worse than our sins? Where did we get the idea that we had the right to make that judgment? These attitudes certainly didn’t come from Jesus. Jesus was the epitome of loving acceptance and called the Sadducees and Pharisees on their hypocrisy many times. As Christians we need to hold ourselves to higher standards--not others!

Jesus kept it simple: Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul and your neighbor as yourself. Do this and everything else falls into place.

Margaret Williams

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