Friday, January 04, 2013

"And when when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, 'Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?'...Jesus...answered...go ye and learn what [the saying] meaneth: 'I will have mercy and not sacrifice;" Matthew 9: 13

This caught me up short today:
"the Pharisees had a view of religion which is by no means dead.
(i) They were more concerned with the preservation of their own holiness than with the helping of another's sin.  They were like doctors who refused to visit the sick lest they should be injured by some infection.  They shrank away in fastidious disgust from the sinner; they did not want anything to do with people like that.  Essentially their religion was selfish; they were much more concerned with saving their own souls than to save the souls of others.  And they had forgotten that that was the surest way to lose their own souls.
(ii) They were more concerned with criticism than with encouragement.  They were far more concerned to point out the faults of other people than to help them conquer these faults.  When a doctor sees some particularly loathsome disease which would turn the stomach of anyone else to look at, he is not filled with disgust; he is filled with the desire to help.  Our first instinct should never be to condemn the sinner; our first instinct should be to help him.
(iii) They practiced a goodness which issued in condemnation rather than  in forgiveness and sympathy.  The would rather leave a man in the gutter than give him a hand to get out of it...
(iv) They practiced a religion which consisted in outward orthodoxy rather than in practical help.  Jesus loved that saying from Hosea 6:6 which said that God desired mercy and not sacrifice, for he quoted it more than once (cp. Matthew 12:7).  A man may diligently go through all the motions of orthodox piety, but if his hand is never stretched out to help the man in need he is not a religious man."
~William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 1, p.334-335

Good for me to think about.

And then reading Doc & Cov 1 with L this evening in preparation for the lesson on Sunday there was this:

"the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man."

Good to be reminded.


Susan said...

Good reminder!

BrieAnn said...

The first point brought a saying to mind that I can't remember in its entirety. Something about lying down with pigs and coming up with slop or mud or maybe something smelly, I don't know. It never felt right in the context it was given (always about people). I think Barclay's points give clarity to the feelings I've had about such "don't spoil yourself" sentiments.