Last month Mike Ferguson thought he was doing a good thing, but the policeman didn’t think so. Mike, a 36 year veteran ambulance driver was rushing a kidney from Leeds to Cambridge, England when he was pulled over for driving 104 mph. During his trip, he was stopped twice that night. When the Cambridgeshire police stopped him, he quickly proved to them that he was on an urgent and time-sensitive medical assignment that would save somebody’s life. They let him go on his way.
It didn’t happen that way in Lincolnshire. When he was stopped there, he was ticketed and the case was sent to the prosecutors even after he provided proof of the situation. The Guardian newspaper in London reported at press time that a date was being set for trial.
There is an underlying attitude in this kind of situation. Jesus faced it all the time. It’s the problem of caring so much about rules that we completely forget about people. It is a real danger in religious legalism.
The Pharisees once criticized Jesus for picking a few ears of corn on the Sabbath to give His hungry disciples. (See Matthew 12:1-2) Another time they spent the whole day watching Him to see who He might heal on the Sabbath day, just so that they could verbally attack Him for it. (See Mark 3:2) One poor man had been bed-ridden for 38 years, but when Jesus raised him up from his bed and told him to take it and go home, the Pharisees couldn’t say enough about how wrong Jesus was. (See John 5)
Modern day Pharisees have the same attitude. They are more interested in people’s actions than they are interested in their needs. I once knew of a church who wouldn’t help members in need unless they were consistent in church attendance. What legalistic insanity!
When people are hurting they need our love, not our judgment. Do you want to do “a Jesus-thing” this week? Find somebody who is hurting and help them. Don’t worry about whether or not they deserve help. If they don’t deserve it, that makes it all the better. What would happen in the modern church if we would err on the side of generosity and compassion instead of judgment?
Loving grace shines bright in undeserving situations. Don’t dole out the law. Share Divine love. Pharisees may criticize, but in the meantime others are being healed and given a chance to live.a