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On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."
Sometimes We Need to Break the Rules
Sometimes I think Christians are far too interested in following the rules than in doing what’s right. I mean, I believe most of us know the difference between right and wrong. We also know that we’ve been called to share the good news of Jesus Christ in ways that might be heard and accepted by others. And yet, sometimes our focus on being obedient to things that are probably secondary actually gets in the way. For example, before offering help, sometimes we feel it’s necessary to make sure the need falls below a certain help-worth criteria that we’ve established. Or we make the conscious decision to put our witness in a straightjacket because of some worship parameters that were inferred from the Bible fifty years ago, but that haven’t been questioned since. Or when asked to explain whether some action is Christian or not, often we break into a legalistic song-and-dance, spinning laws and loop-holes to explain what we can and cannot do. And we do it because we’ve convinced ourselves that obedience is the most important aspect of faith.
And even though, I think we should do what Christ has told us to do, I think even he recognized there were exceptions. In other words, there are times, for the sake of the greater good, we might want to take a half step back from absolute obedience. For example, in the passage we just read, the desire the Samaritan had to praise God for his healing seemed to trump Jesus’s command to “go and show yourselves to the priests.” You see, sometimes to demonstrate genuine love and praise, we might need to break some of the rules just a little bit. But before we do it, we really need to make sure that we’re right.