In Deuteronomy, God tries to convince his people to accept and obey his Torah-Law for faithful living, insisting that nothing be added to taken away from it. This order reflects God's knowledge of the sinful human spirit that can't resist, um, creative adaptation.
Jesus is confronted by Pharisees and scribes in Mark 7 who challenge the failure of Jesus' disciples to do prescribed ritual washing. Knowing the insincerity and lack of integrity in their question, Jesus makes no effort to be friendly by calling them "hypocrites" while citing Isaiah. (By the way, name-calling followed by a scripture quote is not advisable in most instances.) He then cites an instance where their own version of the Torah is completely apart from what the Law says.
This is a problematic position in which we might find ourselves stuck. Often this occurs with the very scripture that we cherish when we realize that our thinking and our values don't match our actions and experiences. We're prone to justifying ourselves with all kinds of qualifications to make exceptions. Consider the young woman in the picture who can hold an assault rifle in one hand and a Bible in the other. Well, I don;t know about you, but it made me scratch my head.
Jesus reminds us that what comes out of us comes from within us. The need for spiritual disciplines to ensure that our spirit has true integrity will be our best strategy for ensuring that what comes out, our witness, is true to the way of faith in Jesus, our Lord.
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