Do 'religious people' make you angry? You know those people who seem to love the rules but don't seem to love people. I must confess that they do make me angry. They made Jesus angry too. Listen to what Mark records in his gospel:
Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, 'Stand up in front of everyone.' Then Jesus asked them, 'Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?' But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
Deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts? Stubborn hearts? Could that be the definition of a 'religious person'? Someone with a stubborn heart? That is way to personal for me. I want to look at this story and interpret 'religious people' as those who do not have compassion ... probably because I think of myself as a somewhat compassionate person ... but stubborn? This is not going at all the way I wanted it to - this was supposed to be a commentary on those religious self-righteous people who lacked compassion - not about 'stubborn people'.
When you come down to it we are all stubborn in one way or another. We get locked into our positions or thinkings and have a difficult time when Jesus shows up and wants to do something that doesn't fit into our theological paradigm. We can, like those religious people of Christ's day, cause distress and anger to our God when we refuse to work with Him and bring healing to the hurting. May He redeem our stubbornness and bring us to a place of humility, brokenness and compassion and make us religious people in the best sense of religion:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. -- James 1:27
and also keep oneself from being polluted by stubbornness :)