Sometimes it can be useful to reflect upon some of the responses of the people to Jesus’ teaching and actions. Here we see that some of the Jews are filled with rage towards Jesus after he heals a man with a paralysed hand on the Sabbath! To us this seems totally illogical and inexcusable. However, if we think a little more deeply, perhaps we can gain some sort of insight into the mindset of the Pharisees at the time of Jesus.

If Jesus act causes such rage in some people it only goes to show the depth of their commitment, however misguided it may be, to a literal obedience to the Law of Moses. If we come at the story from this point of view perhaps we will have a little more compassion for the Pharisees than if we insist at looking at the incident from our own point of view. Trying to be more understanding will give us a much better chance of resolving our differences with others than if insist on our position over and against any other position in an argument. This is not to advocate compromise, but to encourage us all to try and see things from the point of view of the other side of the argument. In understanding both sides it will be easier to know the path to true reconciliation of views.

The Pharisees are clearly wrong. The difficult thing ere is to discover the way or means of convincing them of their error. Outright confrontation is unlikely to work because of their deep commitment to their way of life. Another path must be found whereby to witness to them the way of mercy and love over and above a literal interpretation of the Law.

Hopefully, in learning to be more empathetic, that is, placing ourselves in the position of the other person and trying to understand their point of view more fully, we will be better able to facilitate dialogue rather than confrontation and love rather than rage and destructive responses to situations of disagreement.

How committed am I to true reconciliation when I find that I have a fundamental disagreement with a family member or friend? Am I usually willing to honestly try to understand their point of view?

Lord Jesus, you confront sin with the truth, however, you always approach people with understanding and mercy. Help me to temper my zeal for the truth with an honest and true respect for the dignity of those who may oppose my views.