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The Joys of Art

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Steven Hanchett

Steven definitely knows what he is talking about....Every time God places thought or question in my head...Steven always seems to confirm what the Spirit of God is saying to me.....(An excerpt from his blog)

Mr.Wendall--Arrested Development


Tenessee--Arrested Development


The will of God is not a lot of rules and regulations that everybody must follow to the letter or else. God is a merciful, compassionate and just God. God is not an inflexible book of proclamations and commandments. He is understanding, long-suffering and quick to forgive.
The sin was not that Jesus’ disciples were trying to alleviate their desperate hunger by picking and eating corn on the Sabbath. The real sin was in falsely portraying God as some distant and hard-hearted ogre who neither understands nor cares about the basic needs of his people.

Jesus was never a legalist who cared more about all the rules and regulations in the Bible than he did about people. He cared more about people, and he understood that all the laws and commandments in the Bible were only given in order to help and benefit mankind. They were never intended to do harm to people by neglecting their basic needs. That’s why when given the choice between strictly following the Mosaic Law or helping other people, Jesus always chose to help, whether it was healing on the Sabbath, associating with sinners, eating with people considered ritually unclean, or allowing his disciples to pick corn on a day set aside as holy. A religion without mercy tends to do more harm than good because it replaces the merciful will of God with a hard-hearted and legalistic authority molded more in the image of greedy and ambitious men. Religious legalism is actually a form of idolatry.

Whenever people in a position of spiritual authority presume they are perfect or better than other people, there is no longer any room in their heart for mercy, only punishment. The Pharisees mistakenly presumed they were morally superior to those upon whom they were passing judgment, so they couldn’t have any real empathy for their basic needs. The point Jesus was trying to make is that mercy must always be an integral part of our laws because God is merciful, even though the Pharisees of the world are not. God understands and makes allowances for our needs, even though many legalists do not. He understands our weaknesses and is quick to forgive, even though there are religious people who have absolutely no patience with the failings and limitations of others. God understands, and He is merciful, even though many people calling themselves Christians don’t want to understand and are quick to judge and condemn. If there is one thing sorely lacking in the church today it is mercy. This is reflected not only in the church’s attitude towards lesbians and gays, but towards anyone seen as breaking the rules.

Jesus understood that his disciples were hungry, and he made allowances for the fact that they were not as self-disciplined and strong in spirit as He was. Though Jesus may have been able to go without eating for extended periods of time, he didn’t expect his disciples to be able to do everything that he could. The Bible was never intended to be used as a way for the perfect to punish sinners, because we are all sinners and we are all completely dependent upon the mercy of God.

Like many Christian legalists, the Pharisees probably would have argued that by making exceptions to the Sabbath law that were based upon individual circumstances, Jesus was preaching and practicing a form of moral relativism. But it was they who had completely failed to recognize the will of God manifested in the mercy of Jesus Christ. Judgment without mercy isn’t God’s justice - it’s a form of religious tyranny.

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