But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness…(Mt 23:23).
As I was having a conversation with my husband the other day we were both processing through something that made us both feel that if we made a certain decision it would feel as though we would be admitting to failure and therefore, we both questioned how this would make us look to other people. Isn’t that silly? To prioritize your image and status before mankind? What if in the end, that decision will help you prioritize the greater things in life like justice, love and mercy?
Pride can be a very hard pill to swallow, but what matters most in life is not what other people think, but whether or not we have chosen to walk in love, mercy, justice and faithfulness before God and others. Sometimes that means we skip the promotion, walk the harder road and trust the one who sees it all before we go looking for what other people might think.
The religious leaders of Jesus day thought they were very “right” in how they followed God and so they tried to force everyone else to follow God like they thought God should be followed. Truth be told, I believe those Pharisees were following God more out of fear than faith. They feared another Babylonian captivity. One similar to that which their ancestors faced where they were thrust out of Jerusalem and forced to live in a foreign land for 70 years, so they “placed a fence around Torah” and choked people with the words of God instead of loving them with justice and mercy.
Maybe friend, that’s what we’ve done too. Choked people with our fears, because we care too much what people think or we’re afraid something bad might happen, instead of letting them go by offering love, justice and mercy. There are moments when something in me gets pressed and I know the Lord wants me to simply let something go and so I do, but then, I enter into that with expectations that maybe, since I let something go, it will turn out like I hope. Most of the time it doesn’t and once again, my buttons are pressed and I have to release my choke hold and set things free with love, justice and mercy. After all, in light of eternity the things I fear and try to control are so silly. They really do just ruin my ability to love people. I don’t want to ruin relationships over such small things like money.
Money loves to choke me with fear so that I turn and choke other people with it too. I’ve learned over the years that controlling money, makes me controlling too. So maybe my “right” way of thinking about money is actually wrong. Because my pride is attached to it in an unhealthy way. I think, friend, we need to all be honest about the things we feel so very right about. We need to ask ourselves what lies behind our rightness. Is it pride, fear, or control or things like love, justice and mercy? That’s tough, isn’t it? But that’s where I want to live today. Won’t you join me?
Lord, I’m here to worship you. I want to hear from you. You are so good. I surrender my whole self to you today. I want to be a living sacrifice, in Jesus name, Amen.