“What is it really that stands here between God and man? Paradoxically, it is man’s own morality and piety: his ingeniously devised moralism and his selective technique of piety. It is not – as people [in Jesus’ day] thought – the tax swindlers who find it most difficult to repent, not being able to remember all those whom they have cheated or how much they would have to restore. No: it is the devout who find it most difficult, being so sure of
themselves that they have no need of conversion. They became Jesus’ worst enemies. Most of the sayings on judgment in the Gospels apply to these, not to the great sinners. Those who finally sealed his fate were not murderers, cheats, swindlers and adulterers, but the highly moral people. They thought that in this way they were doing a service to God.” Hans Küng
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.
And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors,
we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’
So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants
of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then,
and complete what your ancestors started!'”
Jesus in Matthew 23:29-32
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- In Jesus’ day the most religious and orthodox people thought they were “doing a service to God” by killing Jesus. And eventually, many in the crowd apparently accepted that interpretation. Imagine.
- When you imagine great sinners who do you think of? …rulers who commit genocide? …heartless souls entrapping young girls in sexual slavery? …doctors who perform late-term abortions? …racist pigs? …homosexuals or homophobes? or the usual: murderers, thieves and adulterers? What if the greatest sinners in our day were self-assured religious leaders, speaking for God, thumping their Bibles – revered by many – but actually fighting God, just like in Jesus’ day. Could that happen?
- Do you trust religious teachers uncritically? How do you recognize orthodoxy today? Could your “service to God” actually be fighting against God?
Abba, show me my blindness, my biases, my wrong assumptions and conclusions. I want to honor your son, not be disloyal to his cause or lead others to reject him.
For More: On Being a Christian by Hans Küng
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”
This is very helpful, and reminds me of the teachings I was fortunate to receive as a child from my Presbyterian parents. Thank you for being here.
You’re welcome Trey. I’m glad I can continue that tradition. Thanks for your interest in the blog.