Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, "Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat."
— Matthew 15:1-2 NLT
Isn't it interesting how some criticisms come disguised as questions?! "Why do...?" The Pharisees and teachers of the law weren't looking for truth, but looking to set a trap. In fact, most of their questions to Jesus and criticisms of Jesus are of the "Why do…?" variety. Always critical, never seeking. Always condemning, never redeeming. For them, it was all about rules. Their rules! Of course, when rules and laws predominate, whoever gets to enforce the rules gets to determine who is good and who is not. That's nice for the enforcers, because those trying to impose rules never have to get around to worrying about being godly themselves.
There is a key warning for us here, too! We must avoid the "Why do…?" accusatory heart in ourselves. We can get so preoccupied with pointing out everyone else's faults that we never get around to our own (Matthew 7:1-5). In the process, like the Pharisees and teachers of the law, we will miss the truth and the truth-tellers while trying to protect ourselves and our traditions.
Father, please remove all of my cynicism, pettiness, and callousness to your children. Use me to be redemptive and not antagonistic or accusatory. Deliver me from being hard headed and hard hearted. Through the precious name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.