Love Thy Neighbor

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Thoughts on faith…

The Pharisees were the religious leaders, the super spiritual, knew everything, back in Jesus’ days.  And Jesus’ harshest words in the Bible are aimed at them.

You’d think those are the people he’d relate to, hang around with.

Nope.

Jesus hung out with the people the Pharisees looked down their noses at.  The ones the Pharisees thought weren’t in the inner circle, weren’t in the know.

Don’t you think that should make people today, who think they have this religious thing all figured out, think another think?

Please, Lord, don’t let me ever become a Pharisee.

I don’t care if I never get this Christian thing right.  I just don’t want to be a Pharisee.

Do we really think that God is small enough that we can figure Him out in this lifetime?  That we can make him in our own image? That we can read something in the Bible and swear it is the truth and everybody who feels differently is wrong?  That our “brand” of Christianity is the only right one. That it’s okay to use words like this against each other:

Heretic
Wolf in Sheep’s clothing
False Teacher
Enemy of Christ

Every time I hear someone who is a Christian use these words against a brother or sister in Christ, a little piece of me dies inside.

Please, Lord, don’t let me ever become a Pharisee.

I think the way God wants us to approach Him is with humility.  Humility that we don’t have all the answers.  I don’t believe the same way I did yesterday.  I am learning and growing in my faith daily.  Why would I think I had all the answers in one frozen moment in time?

This doesn’t mean I don’t believe what I believe.  This is a quote from “Have a Little Faith” by Mitch Albom, where Mitch is talking to his Rabbi.  It resonates with me completely.

How can you – a cleric – be so open-minded? I asked.

“Look. I know what I believe. It’s in my soul. But I constantly tell our people: you should be convinced of the authenticity of what you have, but you must also be humble enough to say that we don’t know everything. And since we don’t know everything, we must accept that another person may believe something else.”

He sighed.

I’m not being original here, Mitch. Most religions teach us to love our neighbor.”

All of Jesus’ teachings are challenging. They shake me out of comfortable. And make me hungry for more. I am writing all of this as a challenge to myself. If it challenges you, too, that’s not why I wrote it, but maybe that’s okay.

Blessings.

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