religious pride

But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” [Matthew 9:11-15 NLT]

Crazy how religious folks judged Jesus and those they marginalized as "sinners".
Referencing a verse from Hosea, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees admonishing them to embrace mercy.
I wonder if Jesus would rebuke many today who choose to ignore the command to be merciful?

Also crazy how much of our tithes and offerings are targeted at religious programs and activities.
Virtually a pittance is budgeted to support those who are poor, sick and imprisoned.
I wonder how many of us need to learn what is means to embrace mercy instead of religious activities?

A good giving question: "Who benefits when we give of our time, money and energy?"
I think that the answer to this question reveals our inner motivations.
Perhaps it is why Jesus instructs us to give our gifts in private?

I can relate to giving sacrificially with a motive to be known for being generous.
That kind of giving is self-serving and reveals an inner religious pride.
I think that there was a prideful aspect in the visible act of offering sacrifices.

External activities, like animal sacrifices, are different than showing mercy.
One is on display for all to see while the other is internal and often invisible.
The former can be a cause of religious pride. The other a manifestation of humility.

Lord, I want to learn. Help me to choose mercy over judging. Humility over pride.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent thoughts Bob. I was reminded of the verse where Samuel told Saul that God desires Obedience rather than sacrifice.

    Mercy and Obedience...what a combination.


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