Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Daily Devotional October 22 - Tolerance

"And it came to pass, that He (Jesus) went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and His disciples began, as they went to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto Him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And He (Jesus) said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungered, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: There the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath." Mark 2:23-28

It's not just the sabbath issue, but the naysayers and the legalists push their rules on others and many of the rules are not from God. So often the spirit of the law and the letter of the law are worlds apart. The fact that Jesus addressed this issue is real important as we look at the mind-set that promotes things like punishing or ostracizing those who don't follow some unknown strict code of conduct.

The body of Christ is made up of a variety of differing cultural and ethnic proclivities, many that don't have anything to do with heart purity of godly living. You can dress different than someone else and still be living just as holy a lifestyle. You can have differing interests and still follow Jesus. You can even believe a little differently than your Baptist/Methodist/Presbyterian/Non-denominational/Holiness/Apostolic/Missionary of other named group of believers and still follow Jesus.

That's the point. The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. David ate the shewbread, in today's vernacular, the host, the Eucharist, the wafer, holy bread, sanctified for use. The disciples picked corn on the sabbath day. What is the spirit of the law of God? Of course it is appropriate to have rules and follow them, but there is room for irregularities within those rules, circumstances of exception.

The question becomes, is there a place in your heart for differing views if those views do not threaten true Christianity; If those views are not corrupt or misleading or sinful or inappropriate? Can you make room for the occasional foible or unforeseen circumstance that might require that you are merciful and forgiving? I hope so. I'm not advocating giving up or compromising any of the cardinal doctrines that are clearly outlined in the scriptures. But I have seen much majoring on the minors and minoring on the majors as if you were hired as God's watchdog to make sure everyone does it the way you do.

You are to become like Christ. Religion is for finding the grace and mercy and love and forgiveness of God, not for the binding together of like-minded men and women who are following some rigid and unforgiving set of rules, rules that God has not written, in order to appear to others to be holier or better than those around them. Religion should steer you to become a servant to others and to make special places for the less fortunate and to lift others up and encourage them, not to shun and despise those who have been brought up differently or those who may have learned a different, less perfect theology.

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