Something we should be careful of whenever we hold someone else to a rigid standard is a lurking evil called hypocrisy. Unfortunately, the church is no stranger to this contradiction of word and deed, and it’s been prevalent in religion since the beginning of time. However, Christ had authority to call it out, because He alone could read the thoughts and intentions of human hearts. In fact, He had no qualms about speaking boldly to the Pharisees when they made a villain out of Him for healing a demon-possessed woman on the Sabbath. Though their accusations appeared righteous and in alignment with the law, they missed the whole point of their faith — to receive and reflect God’s love. Rather than focus on what they could do to help a fellow human being, they assumed the Lord was on their side and that He had called them to be immovable in defending His rules. How shocked they must have been, then, when Jesus swiftly pointed out the double mindedness in their allegations. While they were upset that He had “worked” on the holy day, He reminded them that giving their oxen a drink was also a form of labor. However, they wouldn’t let them go thirsty because it would be cruel, and the law explicitly outlined how animals were to be cared for. As sad as it was, their donkeys were shown more compassion than a child of God, and this was not okay!
My friend, guard your life and your spirit against hypocrisy. When you’re feeling adamant about someone else’s wrong, check your heart to make sure you’re not having a similar struggle. It’s easy to point fingers at those who remind you of the things you most dislike about yourself, but in such moments, you’re wise to come back to the cross. Remember that you, too, were once in need of a Savior, and only when you said “yes” to Jesus were you relieved of the weight of your sin. Now, because you’ve been completely forgiven, you can liberally share divine mercy and grace, knowing that compassion has the power to set people on the path to Godly transformation.