It’s a sad truth that those who walk free from court aren’t necessarily innocent. Sometimes the man or woman who walks free from court simply has the better solicitor. Lawyers do a good and valuable job, but it has to be said that some lawyers take more pride in finding legal loopholes than the truth.
In today’s gospel reading Jesus invites us to consider that it is not just laws in themselves that are important but our attitude towards those laws. Perhaps we haven’t committed murder, but have we harboured hatred? We might not have committed adultery, but have we failed to live up to the love we once promised our spouse? We might not have committed theft, but are our hearts set on the wealth our neighbours have earned? Laws might seem to fence our lives with rods of uncompromising iron, but most laws are simply expressions of how we should behave towards each other. The unwritten laws of love bind us in promises that we wouldn’t dream of compromising let alone riddling with loopholes. When it comes to those we love, we don’t need a statute book, our heart tells us what to do. The written law should be no different.
Laws are written down in books of statute and commandments are written in the Bible, but the spirit of the law must exist in our hearts. What exists in our hearts is as important if not more important than our actions. As a newly qualified driver mentally rehearses his or her first solo drive, so we must follow where our hearts go first.