Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Higher Standard

To become a follower of Christ; to take His name is a serious thing. It calls you to a higher standard of behavior. It calls you to treat others as you would have them treat you. It calls us all to leave a lot of things in Christ's hands that we'd sometimes rather do ourselves like judging others, telling others what to do and pouring wrath on those we disagree with. God judges. God commands. God handles any wrath that's needed. It's hard for many Christians to allow God to do all that. We want to meddle. Some of us even tell lies, twist facts or make things up in order to make God look a little more like we think He ought to look.  We want Him to be more involved than He seems to be - in the way of miracles, just desserts and that sort of thing. We'd like more heavenly parlor tricks, more bad people getting what they deserve and magical miracles that favor the good guys and fewer hard lessons and less martyrdom.

We are not called to be God's PR team.  He doesn't need someone schilling for Him to clean up His reputation, although we do possess a rather stunning ability to wreck His reputation and make Him look bad to our fellows. 

We are not called to be captains or sergeants to pass along orders to underlings (those with less spiritual "experience" than us). The command structure in God's army is very flat. There's God and then there's you. Why do we think we need to improve on how God does stuff? Heirarchy in the Christian church is about making sure the bills are paid and the janitorial work gets done.  Nothing else.  The shepherd's job is to show us the way home. Whether we follow is entirely up to us. It is also up to us to make sure for ourselves that the shepherd is, in fact, leading us home. Fortunately, God has given us the tool we need for that and if we find we're off the track, we are well able to get back on it with His help. If the shepherd is misleading the flock, God will admonish him. Our duty is to walk toward the light.

I've never understood the need some people have to tell others how wrong they are.  We are charged to bring folk who are hurting and lost to the feet of Jesus, not to harangue them about doctrine or punish them for their mistakes.  We are called to be witnesses.  Notice that witnesses do not give orders. Witnesses are not judges. They are not even the jury and they are certainly not the attorney. That is reserved to Christ alone. Witnesses tell what they know. They tell the truth as they saw it.  Witnesses are not called to invent little tricks or to use bullying, lying or intimidation to get people to obey God.  

The belief that we can and should do that is the lie behind the first sin ever committed.

"Pssst," said the devil. "Wanna be gods?"

Tom King © 2013

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