You can be superstitious if you want. Or you can be a Christian. But you can’t be both!”

In Mark’s gospel, Jesus spoke harshly to the religious leaders. (It was the religious people who crucified the Son of God.) Jesus said to them, “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” (Mark 7:9)

Religious tradition (and the death it produces) is always in conflict with the Word of the Lord, which is intended to bring us to abundant life. (John 10:10)

Colossians warns us “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Col. 2:8)

Our churches are filled with bullies (scribes and Pharisees), prepared to enforce their traditions at a moment’s notice.

Last year, there was a problem at the wedding of my youngest son. There was a mix-up with the bride’s father. He was long past due. The groomsmen waited, perplexed, in an office. The bridesmaids milled about downstairs. The heartbroken bride stood alone, weeping.

I decided to go to her, to offer her some comfort. As I entered the room, some silly person in a bridesmaid’s dress decided to bully me. “You can’t see the bride before the wedding! It’s tradition.”

Seeing my daughter-in-law in pain, and being assaulted by a religious bully at the same moment, stirred the Holy Ghost in me. In terse, but plain speech, I silenced my assailant. “You can be superstitious if you want. Or you can be a Christian. But you can’t be both!” [Snickers of delight rose from nearby witnesses–bullies depend on witnesses to embarrass and pressure. Doubtless, she had been badgering them too.]

Don’t let bullies drag you down the road of tradition. Challenge every practice with the Word of the Lord. If Jesus didn’t say it, it will probably lead you to dead men’s bones.

Beware… lest any man spoil you…” i.e., leads you away in chains, as the spoils of war!

Nothing is so calculated to bring a person into bondage as religious tradition.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Gal.5:1)