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.

Jesus teaches that we must be aware of the effects of our actions. He says the religious leaders “place heavy burdens on the shoulders of others” (v. 4) through their interpretation and enforcement of the Law. They are doing this intentionally, to keep their grip on power and their position.

Do we harm others unintentionally perhaps? Think about the things you say and do and how they might impact the lives of others. As we have discussed, the world is watching and our behavior as Christians can cause people to react positively or negatively.

We must consider our words and actions to reflect Christ’s truth and not seem like the Pharisees of the present. Sharing His love will help people understand the joy of a relationship with God and each other. Let us be the ones who help lift their burdens and bring them to Christ.

Gracious God, we hear the call to go into the world to share the Good News. Make us strong in faith to help others find the way to Your love. Amen.

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