“Instead of putting others in their place, put yourself in their place.” – Amish Proverb
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Jesus went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition!”
If you were raised in the Christian tradition, you no doubt are familiar with rules.
I was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition where there are all kinds of rules, regulations, and rituals.
Rules are extremely necessary when you are a child in order to set clear standards and boundaries.
But as a person grows, you have to allow yourself to see a bigger picture.
It would be like seeing a map of the United States as a child with all the boundaries of states, but then as an adult to look upon the whole earth from a viewpoint in outer space.
You now see the whole Earth suspended in the vast blackness of the universe and amidst the twinkling of the billions and billions of stars and galaxies.
The human-made lines separating the various states are now meaningless.
You can still talk about those lines of separation when dealing with day to day, practical matters, but your spiritual scope is now vastly broader.
In today’s scripture, the religious leaders were taking Jesus to task because they observed some of his followers not practicing the ritual washing of hands before eating.
Jesus was aware of their meticulous attention to the rules and to their enforcing them without the balance of compassion.
This requires a “both-and” approach and not an “either-or” one.
You can both keep the rules and overlook them in light of the bigger picture.
To love is the main objective.
As Jesus said, the greatest commandments are to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:28-31).
These are the utmost important rules to embody.
May compassion be the foundation for all our words and actions.
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Remember: God loves you!