August 29, 2009

Encouraging Words 8/29/09-"It's Not About the Rules"

Here's a good word from Ray Neal, the pastor at MCC Seattle, from his blog "Something to think about."

What do you do when you are challenged by other Christians who believe you aren't living up the standards of the Scriptures because of your sexuality or gender identity? How do you respond when they quote scripture in their attempt prove to you that you are sinful and therefore are unloved by God?

Well, you could follow Jesus' own response to the so-called religious authorities of his day. The story is found in this week's Gospel reading from Mark 7. The religious leaders accused Jesus' disciples of failing to abide by the Holiness and Purity Codes found in Leviticus because they didn't wash their hands properly before meals. In their way of thinking a proper God-believer would not have acted this way. Instead they would have followed an elaborate ritual of washing their hands and of preparing their food before they could eat it. Since the disciples didn't do that, then the disciples must therefore be sinners who ignore the commands of God.

Jesus responds "(The Prophet) Isaiah hit the nail on the head when he spoke about you. He saw right through your hypocrisy when he wrote this: 'These people mouth all the right words, but their hearts aren't in it. Their worship is just one big sham. They invent rules to suit themselves and then teach them as the word of God.'

Jesus then continued: "At the end of the day, you are more concerned about your own rules and traditions than you are about what God actually wants of people."

Go get them, Jesus! Haven't you wanted to give as good as you get sometimes when you believe you are in war of words with those who tell you that you can't possibly be Christian and gay? Jesus is trying to say that it isn't the rules that are important, not even how we interpret them or apply them, but how we make God's power and presence a part of our hearts and lives, most especially how we accept God's love for ourselves and share that same love with others. Condemnation of others isn't ever loving. Whether it is you and I condemning our accusers or them condemning us. Jesus goes on to tell us that people of faith must always avoid abusing others by our actions and words.

Click here to read the rest of the post.

No comments:

Post a Comment