Yesterday at worship we reflected on the Luke 13 story of Jesus healing a crippled woman. While she was ecstatic to finally being able to stand up straight, the religious authorities reacted in horror. How could Jesus, who was recognized by some as being a messiah, break the Sabbath law of doing no work on the Sabbath? Jesus’ answer was basically that some rules must be bent, even broken, precisely because people are bent and broken. Love the law, but first make love your law.
So often we make laws into something godly. We even worship what we believe to be the proper way of doing things. Jesus clearly defended his sense of principles and truth, but balances it all with the belief that ultimately it was best to err on the side of compassion. The theologian William Sloane Coffin once said that we are faulted with having unlimited certainties and limited love, when we need the opposite…limited certainties and unlimited love. I remember a camp song that goes, “They will know we are Christian by our love,” and not by our laws.
The mind and heart are often opposed to each other. The mind knows what is right and correct. The heart sees what is good and compassionate. Herein lies our dilemma. Which should prevail? Conviction or compassion? Principles or relationships? In the Luke 13 story Jesus straightens up the “bent out of shape” authorities. May the good Lord give us eyes to see others as God sees them---not with shortcomings but as cherished. May the good Lord give us eyes to see ourselves, not with weaknesses but as gifted. Dear Lord, use us to bring your healing touch to those in need. Bless us with your presence.