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#193 How Religion becomes a Curse

Jesus, revived by the widow’s heart, continues his warnings against the Pharisees. But even as he speaks harsh words, “You Poisonous snakes!” there are tears in his voice.

He denounces their pretense of making some sins worse than others, and for money ignoring the worst. “Blind guides!” Similarly, he condemns taking oaths with degrees of sincerity.

He calls them on tithing, endorsing tithe as God set it up, but reprimanding them for not allowing the people to carry out their own convictions. Their system has become so complicated, it is impossible for people to know if they’ve met their “obligation,” creating worry instead of trust.

“You focus people on trivia, and forget all about the important values of love, justice, and mercy.”

He even addresses their dietary practices which God gave to protect their blood from toxins. They had gone over the top, requiring straining of water in case an insect fell in it. “You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” he says.

Religion, meant for giving life and protecting liberty, has become a curse. It breaks his heart. Turning to leave, his voice chokes with anguish, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem… how I have longed  to protect you as a hen gathers her chicks but you would not let me. Your house is left desolate.”

The people witness the mysterious separation struggle of the deity in divine love letting go. Israel has divorced herself from God. They can do nothing more for her except give her the truth. They have to let her go.

Matthew 23

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