Would somebody please tell me what’s so difficult about these passages of scripture?
- Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
- Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
- Luke 22:25-26 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.
- Romans 13:10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
- 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 If I speak in human or angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Do we really need a ”Christian Talmud“, a huge rule book that would embarrass the IRS, to tell us how to live? Judging by the books, blogs, and bluster coming from ”Christian leaders“ today, one would think so.
We have to be told what roles to play. We have to know what music we can listen to. We simply can’t go through the day without a list of approved jobs, hobbies, and books, a dress code, and attendance at every meeting, conference, and seminar. We can’t understand the Bible without official interpreters; we can’t be trusted to function as Christians without the ”covering“ or ”oversight“ of mere humans; we practically need to be told how to breathe and walk and talk!
None of that has anything to do with love, but everything to do with dependency and control. There is no discernment, so the poorest substitute-- ultra legalism and micro-management-- fills the void. Checking off boxes is so much easier than thinking, studying, praying, listening, and following the Spirit. We want, nay need, to have a List and check off the boxes. As Paul lamented to the Galatians, we have turned away from freedom and back to the worthless elements of the world.
How did it come to this? How is it that people can prefer oppression and shallowness to a deep relationship with God based upon love? What has Jesus done that was so wrong, that we should trade Him in on something more concrete and controllable? All I see these days coming from popular authors and entitled officials is legalism and conformity. The individual is to be hammered down into the preferred mold of whichever rulebook can control them.
That is the face of Christianity today, the one the world correctly identifies with the Taliban. It is not what Jesus planted or the apostles watered. Let’s leave the control freaks behind and start over; back to Jesus and the ”teachings of the apostles", the New Testament.