Wednesday, October 16: To loose the chains of injustice
Bad religion shrinks and kills our hearts. Bad religion lacks love and puts our focus in the wrong places. Bad religion often raised the ire of Jesus, and we find pieces of bad religion in each of our hearts. Jesus came to bring light and hope to us who so easily slip into bad religion.
Read Isaiah 58:3-8
'Why have we fasted,' they say,
'and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?'
"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter —
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard."
This is a dialogue between the people of Israel and God. The people don't understand why God is not impressed with their religious behavior. God is upset with his people for failing to live just, merciful, and righteous lives with their neighbors. This is the outcome of the bad religious idea that God cares more about our religious activities than he does our daily behavior. What do you make of this?
Think hard. Do you sometimes act as if God is most concerned with your religious actions, rather than your everyday treatment of your neighbors? How might understanding God's omnipresence change this view?