John 9:1-23; 2 Chronicles 6; Malachi 2:17-3:18
There are always “those” kind of people. They find something to criticize in any situation. One example given before was the aunt who looked at a lavish Thanksgiving spread with three main courses, ten different sides, six different salads and all kinds of deserts and sniffed, “What? You don’t have plain red Jell-O?” Irregular people – the ones who knowingly or unknowingly find ways to hurt at any time. Jesus had His irregular people; they were called Pharisees. He saw a man who was blind and healed him. The reaction from some of the Pharisees showed that they missed the point. “Therefore some of the Pharisees said, ‘This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.’ Others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?’ And there was a division among them.” (John 9:16) The point of the story is clear. God loves people. God loves them so much that He will even allow and cause healing on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of rest to honor God, but caring for His people is one way of honoring God. Those irregular people, though, had developed their own rules for the Sabbath. They had interpreted God’s word in their own way and were so afraid of breaking the rules that they closed out any possibility of doing certain forms of God’s work on the Sabbath. As Jesus pointed out on other occasions, surely healing would be doing God’s work and thus acceptable on the Sabbath. How often do we look at God’s word and decide that we know exactly what it means and then seek to enforce that practice? We claim that we believe in being saved by grace and continuing in grace and yet we see someone doing something we consider wrong and we immediately condemn them. Some of the practices that have been elevated to this level include drinking, smoking, dancing, shopping on the Sabbath (or on Sunday)…need we discuss more. While you could make a case that these things may not be honoring to God, the ultimate question has to be do such practices destroy a person’s relationship with God so much that God could never love them? Those who are opposed to those practices and those who engage in those practices could probably seek to make a case about why they are right – but the key idea that we need to remember is that God isn’t concerned with whether we are right or wrong so much as that we are in a relationship with Him. Can we trust God enough to work in people to help mold them and change them when they are doing things against His will? The old saying about faith holds true: “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, unity.”
Dear Lord, remind me that I am not called to be a spiritual policeman working on the behavior of others. Help me be the kind of person who helps people develop their relationship with You. Help me to trust You enough to work in me to mold me into being the kind of person I need to be and that You will do the same for my brothers and sisters in Christ.