Matthew 12:1-2, 7
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.” Jesus said to them, “If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men.”
Rules are all well and good to keep us from running wild…giving us healthy boundaries so that we can truly become what God intended. For the young and immature…clear rules are necessary. But as we grow in age and consciousness…we need a bigger picture. Rules remain important…but Jesus clearly says that mercy and love trump the rules. The disciples were hungry…so it was okay for them to eat even though they were breaking sabbath rules. When your mind is looking through an “either-or” lens (like the Pharisees) you can only see black and white. You either follow the rule and you are good…or break it and you are bad. Jesus looks through a “both-and” lens seeing the grays of life. You can both keep the rules and break them when it’s in the name of love and mercy…and still be good. Your mind may be rebelling against this concept. Perhaps you need a new lens! As St. Paul says, “be renewed in the spirit of your minds and put on the new self” (Ephesians 4:23-24).
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