Teachings of Jesus 3: Traditions, Relationships, Grudges, and Bitterness

For a list of all free video teachings and transcripts in this series, go HERE.

Get the book or e-book to go along with the study. We will be covering 18 teachings this summer by video. The book covers the teachings I am not able to make videos for, due to lack of time (I do have a "real" job too, by the way! I work on the special education team for our local school district.)  The book, however, has nearly all Jesus's teachings in Mark and into Matthew, and it is on sale at the time of this posting.  Get the book or e-book at Amazon by clicking HERE.

HERE is the full video for Teaching 3 titled Traditions, Relationships, Grudges, and Bitterness.  A written transcript is right below the video again, if you prefer reading through it.  Enjoy...and I would love to hear any feedback/discussion you have by commenting here, on facebook, or by sending me a message on facebook.

--------------Transcript -------------------------

Good morning and welcome back to our Teachings of Jesus series. Look who joined us. This is Willa (picking up her dog, a little yorkie). I think she will be good. At first I was going to put her up in a room or something so she wouldn't be bothering my videos, but then she starts barking and yipping and wants out.

Ok, if you have the book, we are in HeCalled: 56 Daily Studies and Reflections with the Words of Christ, and we are skipping ahead today to Day 8. I am going to read our passage today, it is from Mark 2:18-21:

“Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting,” –

and I want to make a point here, that their choice to fast was a tradition. It was not actually in the Torah or in the law that they had to fast at this time. It was a tradition that they did.

“and people came and said to him (they said this to Jesus), 'Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast? But your disciples do not fast?'

And Jesus said to them, 'Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and they will fast on that day.'”

In my research for this passage, I learned quite a bit about Jewish wedding feasts during the time of Christ. What happened – when a Jewish couple got married, they didn't leave and go off on a fancy honeymoon like we do today. They stayed at home; they had a big event at home; they had an open house where all the closest friends and family of the bride and groom could come. They held this open house for a whole week and they had feasting laid out. And there was a rule, or a tradition, that during that week – if it was a regular fasting day or a fasting time, they didn't have to fast. The bride and groom and all their friends and family – anyone who was participating in the wedding celebration – they didn't have to fast.
So when Jesus was responding to this criticism that he and his disciples weren't fasting while the Pharisees and John's disciples were – he indicated – this was a very special time. He and his disciples being together was a time to celebrate. The fact that God had come near was a time to celebrate, and they would be exempt from fasting.
And like I said before, this was not a rule or law under Moses. It was just a tradition. So when I was reading this passage and wondering how could this apply to me – I thought of it in the context of us with our Christian friends and with our Christian family members.

John's disciples and the Pharisees were Jews, like Jesus – yet they were critical and judgmental because Jesus and his disciples were not following a certain tradition.

How often do we, maybe we don't speak it – but how often do we have critical thoughts and critical hearts against our own, our own Christian friends and family members?

Friends, as this world gets crazier and crazier and we are just seeing more evil abound and – I think we need to recognize that the gift of Christian friends – or if you have Christian family members – that is something to celebrate. And, I do think there is an issue, and it is a heart issue in all of us. Maybe I am the only that struggles with this? But I don't think so.

Are we passing judgment on other people, just because they are not following a tradition, or they are not following something that we expect? Jesus recognized, that when he was with his disciples – and when we are with others followers of Christ – that is not the time to bring in petty grudges, or judgments over petty little things like, “Why aren't you fasting today?”

We do this to our family members too, when one family member can't make an “event.” “Mmmh...I can't believe she's not coming.” After reading the passage today, we see how Jesus overlooked tradition for the sake of cherishing relationships with his disciples. And there are many other times, I think you know there are many other instances in the Bible where Jesus indicated that relationships – our relationship with Him and our relationships with other Christians – should supercede all these little traditions.

But let's search our heart today. The challenge for today, or the instruction, is to really think about your habits or your thoughts –

Are there any Christian brothers or sisters in your life that you are silently judging as being less committed than you are? Or maybe you are judging them the other way. Maybe they are stepping out more than you, and you are thinking, “Oh, Well, how holy are they?! Why are they doing that? Who do they think they are?” It goes both ways.

Any family members, Christian family members who you are holding a grudge over about how things should be done? Maybe, just maybe, we tend to act like the critics in this story. Maybe we are spending time judging other Christians in our lives, when instead we should be appreciating them and finding ways to grow spiritually with them.

So in this passage in Mark 2, starting in verse 18, Jesus indicates that appreciation for time together is more important than following outside traditions. So when you are with Christian friends or family, just celebrate that.

And I truly believe, no – I know based on my own experience – that these little grudges and grievances, they block – if that is appropriate to say – they can block – your own walk with Christ and your own ability to get close to Him.

Matthew 6:14-15 tells us that we are to forgive others, so God may forgive us. Letting go of grudges and bitterness against others for small slights, or for not meeting your expectations – letting go of these is a form of forgiveness.

So I recommend that everyday – I do this everyday – I'm just being open here. This is something that I think I am getting better at, but I used to struggle with this a lot. Not outwardly, you wouldn't know by my smiling face – you would never know. But inside my mind - I would do this – keep grudges ,and it's very hurtful – to yourself, if not to the other person.

So I just ask that we pray this prayer; and if this is something you struggle with too, that you pray this prayer as well:

God, search me...
I want you to bring to mind the grudges and the bits of bitterness that are in my heart
Bring those to mind...
(Then when they start coming to mind, say)
God I give this to you.
I want you to pull this bitterness out of me
I know it is not your will for me to be bitter
Whatever bitterness I have against this person or that person
Pull it out of me
I do not want that to be in there, I don't want to be like that.
If that is something you struggle with – I encourage you to pray that every single day, until the bitterness cannot even take root anymore!

And with that, I'm going to leave – the next video goes up in two days! Bye for now...

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Get the book or e-book to go along with the study. We will be covering 18 teachings this summer by video. The book covers the teachings I am not able to make videos for, due to lack of time. The book, however, has nearly all Jesus's teachings in Mark and into Matthew, and it is on sale at the time of this posting.  Get the book or e-book at Amazon by clicking HERE.

For a list of all free video teachings and transcripts in this series, go HERE.