Monday, May 01, 2006

Religion Misses The Mark

“You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” (Matthew 15:8-9) It is interesting that the context of this rebuke by the Lord of the Pharisees and teachers of the law was a hand washing controversy. These religious leaders were looking to catch Jesus and His followers in a sin and they noticed that they did not go through ceremonial hand washing before meals. Jesus comes right back to them and confronts them with their hypocrisy in caring about God’s word but finding a way around helping their parents in their old age, creating a kind of loophole that transferred support that would go to parents and giving it intstead “God.” Thus they were dishonoring their parents in the name of the Lord! That’s what religion does. It distorts the heart of God in the most important of relationships, in the family. It doesn’t cut it to be religious. God is longing for a relationship that is heart to heart…a relationship that does the right thing even when it hurts. He wants a relationship that is lived out first sacrificially within the home. Dear Father, I confess my own Pharisaical tendencies. I can honor You with my mouth but deny You in my heart and in the way I treat those closest to me because it is easiest to do so. Change me O God so I may honor you with my whole heart, my whole life! In Jesus’ Amen

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