Don't Overlook the Wounded on Your Way to Church

Jesus never once chided the Pharisees because they didn't read their Bibles. That was never their problem. They had read their Bible, searching the scriptures. The scribes were lawyers versed in the law of Moses. To say they knew their Bible would be an understatement. John 5:39 says, 

"You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,"

God never once accused the Pharisees of failing to tithe. He said them in Luke 11:42:

"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone."

God acknowledged that the Pharisees had the outward appearance of religion and of keeping the law. They took things to the nth degree, adding commentary upon commentary to the scripture. He said in Matthew 23:27:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean."

God never accused the Pharisees of failing to fast. Everyone knew they fasted because they exaggerated its effects to win the praise of men. Matthew 6:16 says:

"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full."

God never accused the Pharisees of failing to pray. It was known that they prayed because they did so openly in the street for all to hear. Matthew 6:5 says:

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others."

And so we see that the Pharisees tithed, fasted, prayed, read their bibles, and went to church. But when the broken were in their midst, they turned away from them. They rebuked Jesus for commanding the man to stretch forth his hand and to be healed. They chafed when He forgave the man of his sins. They scoffed at the sinful woman who kissed Jesus's feet, washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair. The Pharisees lacked the love of God. They left off justice, mercy and obedience, which God says is better than sacrifice.

Do we sometimes pray, fast tithe, read our bibles, go to church, and pray, while neglecting to do the very things God would have us to do?

A man was on his way. He was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was accosted by robbers, stripped, beaten, and left half dead. He was observed by a priest and a Levite, the epitome of religiosity in that time. Both saw him and passed by on the other side. They're not the heroes of this story. They're not the ones we emulate when we utter the words, 'Good Samaritan'. They're the ones we feel ashamed of. 

When the Samaritan, who was not of the religion of the Jews, passed by, he stopped and dressed the man's wounds, took him to an inn and assumed the cost for his care. He is the hero of the story. 

Church, don't ignore the hurting. Do not leave the sorrowful, the poor, the disgraced, the addicted, and the hurting without seeing to their wounds. Do not fail to care for those in their affliction. Because what if at the end of the day we're like the pitiful and blind Pharisee who cannot see his own sin and whose heart has grown hard?

Let us be careful not to leave off compassion and caring. To invite others in despite our differences and to open our wallets where it counts. Let us not be building treasure on earth where moths can devour and where thieves can break in and steal. Let us not be loving of accolades and praise so much that we mistreat others who we think are beneath us.

Be the Samaritan in this story. Endeavor to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. 

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