Such worship, which honors God with lips but not with heart, is a farce” 7:13
Unfortunately, I was meditating on “breaking” the laws of God while I was driving up to my parents’ house. While wagging my proverbial finger at the modern day Pharisees I know, I was rushing up to the hospital as my mom broke her ankle. But truth is, every trip up I drive 5-8 mph over the “maximum” speed limit. It is acceptable and we all know that the cops will most likely not stop you unless you’re going 10+ miles over.
As I was justifying my “little” speed malfunction, I realized that our society is built on “fudging.” A little white lie is okay. We can fudge on our taxes – in our work – in our relationships – in retelling a story to make it sound more amazing than it really was. In America, the “end” is the altar at which we bow – the means are less important.
The means, however, are everything to Jesus. The Pharisees said all the right words – followed all the prescribed behaviors. Sure, sometimes they fudged on and misinterpreted a few things – like justifying not having money to help the parents because it all went to God – but on the outside they looked good. Their behavior was safe – within the limits of acceptability.
I’m grateful that Jesus picked disciples who were less than perfect in their “means.” Peter was a “foot in mouther” and denier. Peter, James and John fell asleep praying. Martha was a worrier. The Samaritan woman divorced more than once. Timothy had an ulcer. And the Sons of Thunder were always fighting over who would be the greatest. The disciples had many moments where they didn’t understand – didn’t want to serve – didn’t do things right and well and perfect.
With Jesus, he is far more concerned with our hearts vs. going through all the motions to appear to be achieving the proper “ends.”
Will I stop speeding – not likely. Well maybe. But I want my heart to be receptive to God’s leading with less justifying and fudging.