By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Jesus never broke one of the laws His Father gave to Moses, but He was notorious for placing the needs of people above the man-made rules of His day. Over and over again in the Gospels, we read that Jesus had compassion on the large crowds and on the people who came to Him for healing. And we read that He healed people with all kinds of infirmities on the Sabbath, something forbidden by the traditions of the elders (but not by the Old Testament).
Jesus values people more than He values the rules of tradition. As Jesus-style leaders, we must do the same. This, of course, does not mean we can flout the rules just for the sake of rebelliousness or relevance. Traditions stand the test of time because they have proven helpful to people. But it is possible for a custom to overstay its welcome. A godly leader will choose the welfare of people over the shouts of, "But this is the way we have always done it!"every time.
The leadership style of the scribes, Pharisees, and priests was one of burdening and oppressing the people. They derived their authority from ancient writings and procedures. When speaking on a given subject, they would cite an ancient teacher: "As Rabbi Hillel taught. . . ."
Jesus came with a completely new and different leadership style. His teaching was rational and compassionate. He taught the people how to have better relationships, how to love and forgive each other, how to resolve conflicts, how to deal with worry and anxiety, and so forth. Unlike the nitpicky and irrational rule-making of the scribes and Pharisees, the teachings of Jesus made logical sense. His teachings were compassionate and liberating.
Think about the places where you have influence - your home, work, church. Are you holding to rules for the sake of tradition? Take time to evaluate your rules. Are they causing unnecessary pain or hardship for someone you know?
Prayer: Father, help me to create God-honoring expectations for those I lead. I pray the guidelines I set forth for my team would be to their benefit and not be created out of any fears or insecurities I may have. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself'"(Galatians 5:14).