“In every religion there is love, yet love has no religion.” – Rumi
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“Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever (the scribes and Pharisees) tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens [hard to carry] and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.”
Jesus told his followers to do what the scribes and Pharisees say, but do not do what they do.
Because the religious leaders of his day had a habit of laying the law down on the people like a load of bricks without any regard to mercy or compassion.
The point of the law was to give people some boundaries that would hopefully give them discipline in avoiding the pitfalls that can derail you in your pursuit of God.
But the focus of their religion was not meant to be the law, but God.
Following the law hopefully freed you from harmful diversions so that you were free to see and hear God in your daily life.
After all, as Jesus said, the most important commandments were to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40).
Love was to be the main objective, not following rules.
For me, I know that I need to stop often to examine my motives.
Am I doing the loving, compassionate thing, or am I just wanting to prove something or be right?
Is my next action based on ego or God?
As the late spiritual teacher Wayne Dyer used to say, EGO stands for Edge God Out.
This is not an easy thing, determining if my ego or my true self is controlling my life.
Some form of meditation or contemplative prayer such as Centering Prayer is helpful.
Jesus wanted to show his followers that while the law was important, it shouldn’t impose such a burden as to squash a person’s spirit.
Love and compassion should always be the main objective.
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Remember: God loves you!