Flexible Heart

Flexible Heart

25 April 2010

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 30-31; 1 Chronicles 10; Matthew 12


6 “There is far more at stake here than religion. 7 If you had any idea what this Scripture meant—‘I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual’—you wouldn’t be nitpicking like this.” (Matthew 12:6-7 MSG)

The Pharisees kind of get a bad rap in the gospels. Because they usually found themselves in opposition to something Jesus said or did, they come off as the bad guys in the Good News story. They were, in fact, the most moral and most concerned about doing things right of all the Jews. The Pharisees’ problem was that in their passion to be right, they became rigid. They were more concerned about doing things right than about doing the right things!

Pharisee thinking tends to be “either-or” thinking. You know, “We’re in, so either you think, talk, dress, look, eat, and act just like us or you’re out.” And, “We’re right so either you agree with us on every detailed point or you’re wrong!”

Honest evaluation reveals that I have some Pharisee attitude in me. I sometimes, less often than before, tend to think that if I’m in, then others, to be “in,” must be like me. And I sometimes, less often than I used to, think that if I’m right, then all the “right” people will see and agree with me. By God’s grace, I’m less “either-or” than I used to be. I think Jesus is encouraged by that, don’t you?

Jesus said that my Abba Father prefers that I have a “flexible heart.” This is what that means to me this morning:
• I won’t judge others by an inflexible set of rules or expectations, but will attempt to understand what they are facing and dealing with and be flexible with them.
• I will be flexible enough to think thoughts and take “heart-prompted” steps that are outside my “either-or” zone, my comfort zone, or my convenience zone.
• I will adjust my expectations of myself and others to allow for “heart-prompted” variations from the plan. Like being both Word-grounded and Spirit-prompted.


Father, help me to approach the people I encounter and the tasks I undertake with a flexible heart. May I be a little less “either-or” and a little more “both-and” today. May I be a little more like my unconditionally-loving Father and my open-hearted Savior today and always. Amen.

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