No Longer Under the Law

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and this blog post has been written for probably two or three months. I think it’s as important now as ever.

It seems to me the fights “liberals” and “conservatives” have, and all the mudslinging back-and-forth, only benefits politicians who thrive on our willingness to tear one another apart (while we ignore what they do behind closed doors and worry about what our *neighbors* do behind closed doors).

Which of those is going to have the greatest effect on your life and mine? Why would you want to start the slippery slope of denying rights to a group of people? How many people realize that gun control is where it’s at because rich old white men wanted to disarm the Black Panthers? Almost all of us can agree that criminals shouldn’t have guns. If said Black Panthers were engaging in criminal activity, they shouldn’t have had guns. But stripping guns (or rights) away from the oppressed only starts a slippery slope toward taking those rights away from EVERYONE.

Republicans often talk about keeping the government out of private lives…that means even when you disagree with someone’s choice of who to marry. That means allowing gay marriage…not forcing a church that believes it’s wrong to go against their beliefs but rather allowing it. There are churches that are okay with gay marriage…you may find it distasteful (or pick another term) but instead of condemning that church, maybe we ought to look inside ourselves and ask why we’re worried about what other people do.

I’m of the [unpopular] opinion that as Christ taught peace, love, and tolerance, he expected that to go to everyone…sinner or not (think Mary Magdalene or even the taxman Matthew…Matt 9:11). Further, as the New Covenant, Christ frees us from the severity of law of the Old Testament (which is why we’re not sacrificing animals, avoiding blended clothing, etc.). It just so happens that the whole “don’t wear blended clothing” (Lev 19:19) is just a few verses away from the one forbidding homosexuality (Lev 20:13).

Unless you want to hold yourself to every law in the Old Testament, perhaps we should consider Christ’s words in Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV): “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Let’s take Matthew 7:9-12 also (NIV): 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

In Matthew 19:16-19, a wealthy young man approaches Jesus and asks for guidance: 16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life ?”17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[c] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]” I assume most of you know how this ends, with Jesus telling the young man to give up his wealth…before anyone decides to get socialist on me, the lesson is not that money is evil but that LOVE of money is evil…that the young man desired his wealth MORE than his salvation!

Nowhere did Christ even *reference* Leviticus. He didn’t even reference all Ten Commandments. Yet there are believers who believe their vision superior to Christ’s!

Instead of worrying about what others are doing, Christ teaches us to take care of others and to concern ourselves with our own righteousness…that faith in Christ is the ONLY way to Heaven. If we were concerned about legalities, no one would make it…David and Job are considered amongst the holiest men and even they cracked (and David did some pretty bad stuff)!

Before you decide to exclude a group of people for their actions, consider how Christ would behave in the exact same situation. I don’t believe Christ would argue the fine points of marriage or the semantics of it…the Pharisees and Sadducees often tried to trip Christ up with words and legalese…and every time he pointed out where they failed.

You might think, “but I’m no Pharisee or Sadducee!”…we all are at some level. Anytime we get on the legalese of the Old Testament or think we have all the answers because we’re “educated” (religiously or otherwise) we’re acting just like them.

I’m no expert. I’m no theologian. I believe and I ask for direction…that’s it…in my opinion, that’s all any of us can do. I think the world can use a lot less hate (call it what you want, lie to others and to yourselves, but God knows your heart) and a lot more love and acceptance.

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