In Matthew 12:9-13, this story is given:
Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.)
And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.”
Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one!
“The law permits…good…”.
What a simple, yet powerful phrase. You see, the Pharisees believed that much of the law was designed to keep people from doing wrong things. Therefore, anytime they saw someone break their traditional understanding of the law, they were frustrated and upset.
Yet, Jesus gives new meaning to the law. He makes it clear that the law did not simply exist to limit “bad”, but also to support “good”. Think about it in these terms: Jesus did not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it. Jesus is the Ultimate Good. The point of the law was to lead us to the Ultimate Good, which is far greater than simply keeping us from that which is bad!
Many times, we create rules that have the intention to limit bad behavior, but the end result is a legalism that stops people from being able to do good.
We must strive to discern every action we take and every decision we make and judge whether it actually leads people towards that which is good.
The goal of our rules should never be less bad, but rather more Jesus. After all, if there’s lots of Jesus, there won’t be much room left for “bad”.
Let your laws be led by love!