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Mercy Not Sacrifices

Mercy Not Sacrifices

24 April 2011

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

Scripture:

But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ (Matthew 12:7 NLT)

The Pharisees often found themselves in opposition to something Jesus said or did, and they usually come off as the bad guys in the Good News story. They were, in fact, the most moral and most “righteous” 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 sometimes – less often than before – I think that if I’m right, then all the “right” people will 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 show mercy, not offer sacrifices. 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 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.

Prayer:

Father, Please help me to approach the people I encounter and the tasks I undertake with a mercy-showing 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 mercy-hearted Savior today and always. Amen.

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