Message: In Matthew 15 the Pharisees came once again to question Jesus. They wanted to know why his disciples broke the traditions of the elders by not ceremonially washing their hands when they ate. As I thought about this question, I remembered that his disciples weren’t of the religious crowd at all. They were fisherman and former tax collectors and all kinds of unlearned and unclean people by the standards of the law. Jesus responded back to the Pharisees asking them “why do you break God’s command because of your tradition?” He went on to expose their hypocrisy by reminding them that God said to honor your mother and father. We all have heard of this command but what was the significance of bringing this up to the Pharisees? They had a manmade tradition for making promises of funds to the temple. This made them appear spiritual and generous and it also found themselves a loophole for not helping their parents financially by telling them that their money is already committed to the temple. Jesus went on to confirm and quote the prophetic words of the prophet Isaiah by saying “These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.” This is what stuck me in the heart today. As I read this I could think of plenty of examples of Christians who are out there calling out other people on “the rules” while missing the point and living hypocritically, but what about me? What areas of my life am I doing this very same thing? What areas am I completely blind to my own hypocrisy while turning my nose up at those who I believe are missing the point? The hard thing is that when we see someone else’s issues and we develop an attitude and an opinion we often get the idea that God approves of our critical assessment and agrees with us. This makes us feel justified and blinds us from our own issues. We are living in a mess of this behavior right now and I marvel at the people who say they are struggling with their respect toward others because of their “ignorant and uneducated” beliefs and biases. We all have a category of people that we tell ourselves that we love ‘in spite of’ what we perceive to be wrong thinking on their part. We are SO convinced that we have it right and others just need to get it together and we have several angles of this pointing at one another for their “ignorance”. Today I’m going to pay attention to the critical spirit in my own heart because I have often found that the people I feel the most irritation toward often are a mirror reflection of a behavior in myself that I need to deal with. Lord Jesus, please shine a light on my blind spots!!