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You perhaps recall those days in beginning chemistry class when the teacher handed out little strips of colored paper and told you to stick the tips in various liquids on the desk in front of you.

Depending on the liquid tested, the strip turned different colors. Those strips of litmus paper were short-cut indicators of how much acidity or alkalinity was in the liquids.

And so, many of us understand the phrase of “litmus test” to represent the process of defining the essence of something we’re examining.

A passage in today’s Bible reading contained a litmus test principle cited by Jesus. He was speaking to the often-judgmental/hypocritical Pharisees who complained that He was reaching out to sinners shunned by the religious establishment.

“On hearing this, Jesus said, β€œIt is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: β€˜I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13).

On the surface, Jesus’ words are a bit confusing. Doesn’t our making of a sacrifice please the Lord?

Of course, it does.

But not to the exception of merciful attitudes and treatment toward others.

What does it say to God and to others if we write a big check toward the church budget but then we don’t even give the time of day to the lonely, hurting person who isn’t on our self-perceived social status level?

Pride is bad, my friends. Really bad.

If we’ll give money but we won’t give kind, caring, involved attention to those who need help — even in our own families and congregations — then what are Jesus’ words saying about our level of obedience to Him?

Please remember that being “cool” with God involves more than a tithe check, even though that’s very important to showing your trust in God and support for Gospel ministry. God calls for ALL of our hearts and that includes helping those who are having a tough time in life.

Hmmm… Jesus had it all and yet He went to people who were spiritually sick…. as in you and me.

Let’s imitate Him. Let’s do a better job of showing mercy, not just sacrifice.

As always, I love you

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