I am a “rules person”. I see rules as things to be followed, and when people don’t follow them, it irks me. If there was a real justice league, I’d be a prime member.
In Mark 3 Jesus healed a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees were waiting to see if He would break their rules and heal the man on the Sabbath, which He did. (If ever there was a justice league, the Pharisees were definitely in.) Just before Jesus performed this healing, though, having brought the man to Him He said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?” They said nothing and this angered Jesus, and He was grieved at their hardness of heart.
Earlier in the Gospel of Mark when the religious leaders had questioned another of the breaking of their Sabbath rules (picking grain and eating it), Jesus told them that “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” What I see here is God’s focus on care and love for those He has created. I don’t understand all of the rules that were imposed by God upon the Israelites in the Old Testament, but from this passage in Mark and so many other instances in the New Testament, I can trust that He made those rules because of His love. The same is true of the things God tells us in the New Testament. God’s “rules” are always made from a heart of love for the good of His people.
That’s where we humans screw it up – at least I know I’ve been guilty of it. Where is my focus? Is it on making sure the rules are followed, or is it to love people? Jesus had moments of justice, like the time he turned over the tables of the money changers in the Temple, but His justice flowed out of a desire for the good of those He had created; His justice flows from love.
Are you a justice person, like me? Or maybe you’re the other way around, just love without worries about rules. What we need is a heart like God’s, one motivated by love for the good of people. Father, You alone can give us a heart after Your own heart. I ask You for that.