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Life or Rules?

| By PKD Lee |

Matt 23:23 – ““Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”

There are two aspects to the Christian life – keeping the rules of faith and the practice of love for God and mankind. The latter is primary and the former flows from the latter. In the passage quoted, the Pharisees did the former – paid the tithes, but did not have love for the people, especially the poor. This is a common error to fall into – to think obedience to the rules are what counts.

The same translates into the training of children. Most Christians emphasize the obeying the rules, thinking that would create a Christian paradigm in the children. Unfortunately, that is not so. Rather than encouraging children to memorize the rules and obey them, we need to model the Christian life to them. That is primary. Once they have understood what the Christian life is, then they learn the rules to understand its need for the Christian life.

What does it mean to model the Christian life? It means to love God and love mankind. The motivation for what we do is not to gain heaven, which we already have, but to do what God wants, that is to love God and people.

What does this mean? How do we treat the weaker sections of society around us? The maids, the watchmen, the strangers we bump into is one area where we set the example. The conversations we have at home, how do they reflect our faith in God? What is the quality of our relationships with people? Polite or genuinely caring?

This is what teaches children the Christian life. While Sunday school may teach them the rules, it is the life they see at home that makes them Christian.


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