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“I desire mercy, not sacrifice .. ”
– Matthew 9:13 –
Ever got stuck in neutral when it comes to your theology of “love and mercy”?
You know . . lot’s of noise is coming from the “motor” of your Christian faith
on your FB page or in your opinions inn your small group, but for some reason,
you find an endless string of excuses to engage personally with the broken and the broken.
Jesus probably had this in mind when he rolled out the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Perhaps the greatest indictment of this parable and much of Jesus’ other teaching
was the selfish preoccupation and callous indifference of the religious crowd,
including supposed spiritual leaders.
It is no shock to Jesus that much of modern-day Christianity in western culture
gravitates towards a “comfortable” and over-stuffed lifestyle that leaves little margin
for Divine-inspired interruption and spontaneous missions of compassion.
Jesus is not, in the least, surprised that we easily lose focus of His call
to authentic “take up your cross” followership which is nothing more
than an invitation to be broken of self so we can be His blessing to others.
Somehow in all of this we lose sight that Jesus first and foremost
was and is ALL about love and mercy . . not so much in our theology, but in our walk . .
in the everyday moment – in the time of greatest need . .
NOT the kind of love that loves because we were so lovable but because we were so completely broken . .
and NOT the kind of mercy that is merciful because we rarely “missed-the-mark”
but because apart from Him we are helpless – unable to do anything
that remotely resembles righteous God-honoring living.
Like the Priest and the Levite as portrayed in Luke 10,
our natural drift is towards religious posturing on Sunday while offering little if any regard
for the roadside sojourner on Monday, which is why Jesus stated
“I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13) and is also why James, the half-brother of Jesus,
stated that “pure religion is caring for orphans and widows” (James 1:27).
If we church-goers were all just a little more honest, genuine, authentic,
we would freely admit we need a detox from lifeless religion,
for it is most often lifeless religion that fixates on our “do” and loses sight
of what He is willing “to do” . . first for us . . and secondly, and most importantly, through us.
This is what it means to be . . a “red letter” Christian.
“Father let my light never fade, but instead shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify you in heaven. Amen”
– Matthew 5:6
How is God encouraging you today?