Sunday, March 30, 2008

When is it right to flip the bird?

Future Pastor, beware of your perceived need for Law. This will inevitably affect how you approach the Scriptures. As a young man, as I was taught how to read the Bible, I was told to look everyday for a command I wasn’t keeping, or a rule that I was breaking or some other aspect of how I was not measuring up. Since I was new to the game, I felt I should know what the rules were so I could get on God’s good side and not get in trouble. This is basically why we rely on Law. It brings order, provides boundaries, and keeps people safe. Do you feel vindicated when you see some guy speed by you on the interstate at 90 MPH, only to crest the next hill and see him pulled over by the state patrol? If so, you are probably a rule keeper of some kind. I like the fact that the bad guys get punished and the good guys win (usually.) It’s why I feel justified in giving the finger to the guy who runs the red light in front of me. I’m right and he is wrong, and I need to let him know. But Law as we know it is incomplete. It is necessary for society in maintaining peace and order, but gets in the way of faith expressed as Jesus would have it. Rules and authority can easily take the place of love and trust. The reason you signed a legal contract to take out a loan to buy a car is because the bank does not trust you to pay the money back on time. The bank needs a means to protect itself from being taken advantage of. Handshakes won’t cut it. Love does not allow the bank to turn a profit. So is this the reason we have the Bible, because Jesus really doesn’t trust you to walk with him, so He ordained a new set of rules called the New Testament? Is the life of faith to be wrapped up in daily awareness of all the new orders I’m not carrying out? One thing I believe about heaven is that there will be no rules or laws to live by. The old will be passed away, and included in that is the need to be governed out of distrust. Romans 13 tells us to obey authorities, not because it will be an eternal reality, but because it is an earthly construct. Paul does go on to conclude by saying that every law can be summed up by this one; Love your neighbor as yourself. This is a better way to live. Future Pastor, lead others to be guided by love, not law. Granted, it will get you in trouble. You will be taken advantage of, but in doing so you will be aware of how the Kingdom of God is here already.


Tracy Simmons said...

Fantastic, Kevin! And that's all I have to say about that!

glenn said...

Good insight, Kevin, though I still get mad at the guy that runs the red light, unless it's me.