I am led today (November 23) to give you a word from our Lord Jesus (as recorded in Matthew 23:23). The AMPC translation uses the word “FIDELITY” (FAITH) in addition to JUSTICE (FAIRNESS) and MERCY (COMPASSION, PITY) as THE MEASURE GOD USES TO WEIGH THE WORTH OF OUR OFFERING.
The religious leaders (authority) in Jesus’ days were rich and influential people who lived an elite lifestyle and in luxuries like many church leaders do today. HOW DO YOU WEIGH IN GOD’S SCALE? HOW DO YOU TREAT THE WEAKER (those less favorably endowed/less powerful, with less resources) in your FAMILY/the CHURCH/the SOCIETY today?
Matthew 23:23 JESUS SAYS:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you give a tenth of your mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected and omitted the weightier (more important) matters of the Law—right and justice and mercy and fidelity. These you ought [particularly] to have done, without neglecting the others.”
“Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you utter frauds! For you pay your tithe on mint and aniseed and cummin, and neglect the things which carry far more weight in the Law—justice, mercy and good faith. These are the things you should have observed—without neglecting the others. You call yourselves leaders, and yet you can’t see an inch before your noses, for you filter out the mosquito and swallow the camel.”
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God’s Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that’s wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons?”
“It is bad for you, teachers of the Law and proud religious law-keepers, you who pretend to be someone you are not! You give one-tenth part of your spices, and have not done the most important things of the Law, such as thinking what is right and wrong, and having pity and faith. These you should have done and still have done the other things also.”
“So woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees. You hypocrites! You tithe from your luxuries and your spices, giving away a tenth of your mint, your dill, and your cumin. But you have ignored the essentials of the law: justice, mercy, faithfulness. It is practice of the latter that makes sense of the former.”
NOTES-definition of the word “hypocrisy”:
Hypocrisy is the contrivance of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, while concealing real character or inclinations, especially with respect to religious and moral beliefs; hence in general sense, dissimulation, pretense, sham. It is the practice of engaging in the same behavior or activity for which one criticizes another. In moral psychology, it is the failure to follow one’s own expressed moral rules and principles.