Christianity calls for compassion to counter-balance law.
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At that time Jesus was going through a field of grain on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the Sabbath.”
All society’s and institutions need rules to function smoothly or there would be anarchy.
But Jesus gives us a great lesson today in that we have to be open to a “both-and” approach and not be so fixated on “either-or”.
Issues are not always resolved with black or white answers…but more in the gray area in between.
The Pharisees, who were the religious leaders, were critiquing everyone’s every move, looking for any deviancy from the letter of the law.
They spotted Jesus’ followers picking the heads of grain on the Sabbath which was violating the religious law.
But for Jesus, this was where the law had to be tempered with compassion.
Jesus referred to a statement by the Prophet Hosea (6:6) stating, “If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men” (Matthew 12:7).
For Jesus, mercy took precedence over ritual laws.
His disciples were hungry, so mercy was required.
Jesus was able to both observe the laws and break them when compassion demanded it.
We have so many people today who are caught up in “either-or” thinking.
This creates great divisions and tribal camps where everyone has to follow lock-step with everyone else on all issues to remain in the good graces of their camp.
We would do well to take a lesson from Jesus.
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Remember: God loves you!