Our scripture this week is Matthew 23:1-12.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father–the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
One of the lessons Jesus shares warns about having a double standard – especially one for ourselves and another for those around us. He holds up the Pharisees as an example of those who do this. We must strive to be fair in our treatment of each other and the expectations we have.
Jesus tells us that this group of leaders hold the people to a standard they do not follow themselves. While they require strict adherence to the smallest points of the law from the people, they feel free to ignore its application to them. They want respect and honor for their position but do nothing to deserve it.
Jesus teaches that we are all equal in the eyes of God and we must see each other in the same way. We must not let our feelings and opinions influence our treatment of people. Jesus shows us that we must be blind to people’s position or social standing, dealing with everyone in love as He does.
Gracious God, we often let our judgement of others hamper our relationship. Help us to see everyone through the eyes of love, knowing we are all Your children. Amen.