Posted by Michael
Jesus indicted the religious leaders of his day for failing to practice what they were preaching to the people (Matthew 23). What they were teaching was true enough, Jesus even told the people to listen and obey what the leaders taught. Some of the teachings were heavy, and some of the truth that the leaders spoke exposed the hearts of the people. Facing the truth and growing is a burdensome process at times. The truth then as now can hurt. The weight of the truth wasn’t the problem, however. The problem was that after these teachers brought their heavy truths, they refused to join the people to help them work it out. We are not called to fling the heavy yet healing words of Jesus around impersonally. If we confront anyone with truth, we are called to join them in their battle to embrace that truth. Powerful words must always be accompanied with personal presence. Another way to say this is that religion without relationship is toxic. Christianity is a relational journey with God and other Christians that allows us to embrace truth bits at a time. Later in the same talk, Jesus stated that the religious leaders were shutting the kingdom of heaven in the people’s faces. The Christian life (life in the kingdom) is relational at its core. If it’s not done with people, it’s not done at all. We should never carelessly speak to people (even the truth) unless we are willing to invest the time and energy to accompany them on part of their journey. The world finds religion without relationship unbearable and unbelievable, and it’s honestly hard to blame them.