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Jerusalem United Church of Christ

545 Church Drive,

Palmerton (Trachsville), PA. 18071

610 681 4412

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11th Commandment: Don't be ridiculous!

The 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not be ridiculous!

The lectionary scriptures for August 20 (Matthew 15:10-28) have us witness Jesus telling the Pharisees they were blind to God’s truth and ways because they thought that washing of the body was more important than the condition of the heart and the evil that can come from a heart filled with hate, usury, mockery and selfishness. Jesus tells those in moral authority at the time that they are blind guides and will come to ruin with their unenlightened ways.

You see, the Jews were made “unclean” – meaning “unholy” or more literally, “un-special,” by not following the rules created by their spiritual leaders. What these spiritual leaders were missing, and had been missing for quite  a while, was that God had told them that their rituals were not what God wanted from them.

Directly following this part of the scripture is an account of Jesus traveling to Tyre and Sidon to do something…. no one is quite sure what that is since this was, essentially, another country….; But he encounters a Caananite women who is so humble and so full of faith that when she insists that Jesus heal her daughter, Jesus does it!  Even though, while his disciples gather round, he implies that God’s special people consider her a “dog” unworthy of such blessing. She persists by extending his metaphor and she is the praised by Jesus for having great faith!  Jesus healed her too, right in front of his disciples.

This account shows that God, rather than being impressed with outward appearance, race, culture or ethnic group, will heal anyone with great faith. The character of God is inclusive, not exclusive, and Jesus was trying to teach his disciple this truth. God had been trying to teach the Israelites this truth for a long time. God gave them a special status for a specific purpose, and that purpose was not so they could be the exclusive human DNA of God; it was to bring the world a message.

Any supremacy that human beings may think they have is a source of blindness in God’s view. The Pharisees and scribes were blind to true interpretation of God’s Law because of the supremacy that they wanted to keep at all costs. Jesus simply dismisses them as “hopeless cases.”

So, in a way, an all encompassing commandment would easily be: Thou Shalt Not Be Ridiculous! True disciples will always interpret the Holy Bible in light of the character of God. How people understand the role of suffering requires a long trek through scripture, which I will not go into now. This I know; that implicit in any, and all, of God’s scripture is the charge to all humanity to not be ridiculous in interpreting God’s truth and plan.  All scripture must line up with the true character of God shown in how God's spirit effects us in Galatians 5 which is: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.  Of course, it must. Don’t be ridiculous!