It’s incredible – now that I think about it…  I learnt how to type in Tamil back in Canada thanks to one of my close friends and colleague when I worked as a Production Application Support Analyst.  What’s the connection between that job and Tamil? None!  That’s the whole point.. I learnt simply to help him (well perhaps because he didn’t give me a choice could form part of the equation too!) to get some hymn sheets done for the Tamil church he was a member of.  My Tamil typing speed is now not that far behind my speed in English.

The Tamil alphabet has letters and combinations and forms.. and no capitals.  Hence the shift key is used not to type capitals but rather to form more letters.  What I find amazing is how my fingers do the walking – well, rather talking.. I mean typing!  Sometimes I find that half way through a word, I get stuck and wonder where the specific key that I need is.  I backspace a bit, deleting the latest word or two. Then I position my fingers properly on the keyboard and resume typing. Bingo, I hit the key!  What I don’t know consciously (the position of every form of the Tamil alphabet), I know by “practise”.  I’m able to type “naturally” without any thought to it.

How often our spiritual walk is like this! We are living.. and going with the flow.  How much of thought do we put into what we are doing?  How often are we ‘blindly’ following the norm?  Do we ever pause and evaluate what we are doing and why we are doing it?  Do we analyse whether that ‘norm’ pleases God or whether that contradicts with the essence of our relationship with Him?

For example, many Christians (and many churches too) incorporate eggs and bunnies into their “Easter celebrations and Santa into their Christmas festivals / programs.  It’s all in a day’s fun right?   Well, have you ever wondered what the links are?  Do these eggs and bunnies and Santas symbolise or backup anything to do with the reason for the season?  Have you ever researched into the roots of why these are used?  If you haven’t, perhaps it’s time to do so and decide for yourself.  (This post may also give some food for thought if you haven’t already read it! )

Then there are other traditions – religious (example above), cultural, family, nation, corporate… the list goes on “That’s the way we do it” – Everyone is doing it, so we do it too!

Another example in Sri Lanka is ‘bowing at someone’s feet’ – the person falls onto his/her knees and touches the feet of an ‘elder’ such as a parent or teacher or priest.  Some claim it is to show respect while others admit that it is about ‘worshipping’.   If we give it the benefit of the doubt, then a question can be raised, “is that the only way we can show respect – by elevating them?”  Yet another question would be are we showing respect that way and that way alone?  What does the Bible say about this?  How did Jesus handle traditions versus heeding to God’s voice?

The Pharisees asked Jesus a question:

“Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”

Jesus responded:

He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? – Matthew 15:2-3  

Imagine if you got that reply when you ask such a question?  People can’t handle people who don’t follow the norm that they would even go to the extent of making them the black sheep.  Ironically, the one made the black sheep is often the one who is actually the ‘white’ sheep in God’s eyes… the one who is sure of his/her identity in Christ and is spurred on by His love to obey Him whole-heartedly doing whatever it costs.  The ones doing the shunning are often the ones who have the logs in their eyes that they are blinded spiritually.

Here Jesus didn’t deny the fact that the disciples broke the traditions but pointed out hypocrisy….

 “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’  You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! –  Mark 7:6-9

Where do you stand today?  What are your lips saying and where are your hearts?  What are your teachings?  Are you conforming to the flow of the crowd and holding onto human traditions or are you so much in love with God that you don’t care about pleasing others – at least not at the expense of displeasing God?  Are you willing to go the extra mile to let go of human traditions that contradict with God’s Word to be true to God’s call over your life?

Christian work is constantly crippled by clinging to blessings and traditions of the past. God is not the God of yesterday. He is the God of today. Heaven forbid that we should go on playing religious games in one corner when the cloud and fire of God’s presence have moved to another – David Watson (1933–1984)

At the end of the day, we are accountable to God in every choice we make.  Sometimes we may have blind-spots that others see but yet in a number of other situations, we may be doing things that others don’t agree but which God has clearly nudged us to do.  Just because all are doing something doesn’t make it right… It all boils down to being convicted or led by the Holy Spirit moment by moment, situation to situation.

When we love God with all our heart and all our mind and all our soul and all our strength, we will automatically strive to let God be God, instead of box Him in with preconceived ideas.  As we grow in love with Him, we will begin to let Him transform us through the renewing of our minds. This is done consciously in every decision we make no matter how small or big.  Not because we are scared of Him but rather because we want to see His will done glorifying His Name in everything… absolutely everything!

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