Law May Have No Heart, But Love Has No Limits


John 7:14-24 (NRSV)

About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. The Jews were astonished at it, saying, “How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?”
Then Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him. Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?”
The crowd answered, ”You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?”
Jesus answered them, “I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

Law May Have No Heart, But Love Has No Limits

Law has no heart and statutes make no exceptions for circumstances.
When you’re 5 years old you don’t think about such things and it wasn’t something I considered when my sister asked me to do the unpardonable. Lettie was sick enough to stay home from school, yet well enough to be bored to tears. Three years older and wiser than me, she knew better than to break Mama’s “Can’t Go Outside When You’re Sick” rule.
“You go,” she said. “You’re not sick.”
Scared and excited, I did as she insisted, bringing the outdoors inside to her. Squealing with delight, our mud-pie play soon nearly covered the room, and just as we were flinging it at each other, Mama walked in.
That evening Daddy lined us up against the wall of truth. One by one he asked us who was responsible for bringing the mud into the house.
One by one each told the truth, until he got to me, and I blamed my sister.
Daddy walked his wayward child into the hall of justice—the bathroom—and shut the door. To my surprise he sat me on his lap, put his arms around me and comforted me until my tears subsided. Then he talked while I listened and listened while I talked. Oh, my backside still got tanned … for the lying, he said, not for the mess. And after more crying and comforting we walked out of the bathroom, hand in hand, and cleaned up the mess together - Daddy doing most of the cleaning.
That day Daddy taught me an unforgettable lesson. Law may have no heart, but love has no limit. Love looks for the heart, reason, circumstance. It judges rightly and then pulls up its sleeves, gets down into the dirt, and helps us clean up our messes.
God, through Jesus, has done the same for us:  applying the law, but loving deeply and without limit.


Lord, teach us to love the way you love… ready to set aside our “rightness” and seeking understanding by searching out the heart, the reason, and the circumstance. Then give us the strength to release our prejudices and our judgments to do the work of love hand-in-hand and side-by-side with each other. May we daily grow in our faith in You and in becoming more and more like Jesus. Amen.
Danira Parra is pastor at the three-point Lostant-Richland-Tonica charge and is a Covenant Care Guide in the Vermilion River District.