Monday, December 19, 2005

Laws were made to be broken

I was talking to a friend about one of her friends. Apparently this person is one of those scary Christians who delight in going around beating people over the head with the Bible and refuse to show compassion for anyone not under the Christian banner. She thoroughly and vehemently follows the rules of the Christian doctrine.

For this post, my job is to challenge her and the rest of us to be deviants.

As Christians, we should strive to break more rules. In fact, I'm daring you right now to break the rules in your life. Particularly, I'm talking about the rules developed by the dominant church culture. You know, the ones that prevent us from loving people different from ourselves. The rules that disallow us to treat people with dignity and respect if their lifestyles aren't congruent with ours. It's okay to break some rules; trust me. After all, Jesus did.

Remember when the angry crowd caught the woman in the act of adultery? According to the Law, this woman should have been stoned to death. 'Religious folks' (who, themselves were sinners) had no problem dealing out death to this woman (although, oddly enough, there's no record of them trying to punish the man. But, I digress...). Yet, Jesus, a perfect being, broke that "rule" by reserving his judgment for the woman. With that, I ask you: is there any type of sinner in our society whom we condemn because he/she doesn't conform to "church rules"? If so, it's time to break that rule.

The Law also stated that a person could not heal and serve others on the Sabbath. The 'religious folks' would have simply allowed people to suffer and die, for the sake of not breaking the law. Again, I ask you: is there someone who we are unwilling to serve because the "law" tells us not to? If so, it's time to break that rule.

Sometimes we, as a church, are so proficient at following the rules that we break God’s rules of love. The life of a true Christian is not limited to following a certain code of beliefs. Jesus does not offer salvation based on how well we follow the rules. If the Law was our saving grace, don't you think that Jesus would've placed a higher premium on it during his ministry? Instead, Jesus taught about love, forgiveness, and compassion to everyone; not just to a select group. As followers of Jesus we are challenged to awaken to the reality of God’s presence in the world and to love in a way that matches the love that Christ has for us. He has never said, "You'll only be accepted by me if you wear..." or "I'll only love you if you give $___ to the church..." Jesus' love does not have conditions tacked on. In that respect, neither should ours.

Being a true Christian is about a relationship with God that transforms us into more compassionate beings. We are to be the loving presence of God in the world. As the Bible reminds us in Matthew 5:16, we are to let our lights shine before men so they will see our good works and, as a result, will glorify God. If your religious laws prevent you from being a loving, compassionate presence that this world needs, then it's time to break them.

Break the laws that tell you not to associate with the unsaved so that you can avoid getting 'contaminated' by them. Trust me, you won't become impure by associating with them. If Jesus could fellowship with lepers, the poor, crazy people, tax collectors (a different type of crazy person...), and sinners, what makes you think that we can't do the same? If you are more concerned about a "rule" than you are the fact that there are needy people in this world, then you've clearly missed the point.

As a note of advice: Stop quoting scripture to people and walking away. Stop imposing your laws and church norms on people. At the end of the day, it doesn't prove a thing to God. Luke 4:10-11 reminds us that even the devil knows the scripture. What makes you think that he doesn't also know the Law? So, you can throw out a couple of scriptures. Big deal! For a bigger challenge, stop quoting the Scripture and start living out the Scripture; more particularly, with a spirit of love, compassion, and understanding. Jesus did.

Now, some of you may be asking: How do I break these rules? To answer this question, allow me to ask you a few questions of my own: Are there any types of people that your church refuses to accept? Start there. Do you hate gay people? Start there. Are there poor people whom you run into? Start there. Are there people who are attacked by and dissociated (detached) from your church if they don't conform to certain norms? Start there. Do you have run-ins with unbelievers or people who have different beliefs than you? Start there. Those are perfect places to start breaking those traditional rules that the church often sets.

I think one of the problems is that we limit our service to God for one day a week. Church is not something you do just on Sunday. It's a lifestlye that evoke every day of your life. It's time for us to not just go to church, but to also be the church. It's time for us to stand up and be the Body of Christ. We should break whatever rules we following that turn us into fundamentalists who destroy people's way of life with what we believe. We must break whatever we follow that prevent us from being the loving, compassionate representatives of Christ in this world. We must break the rules that prevent us from embracing the "least of these".

Relax! It's okay! I promise that you won't get in trouble for being a rule breaker.

After all, as I stated earlier, Jesus was too...

- ACL

7 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

ellena said...

Wow! You're such an amazing blogger! What inspires your writing? Do you randomly choose topics off the top of your head or do people give you ideas?

Anonymous said...

i stumbled across your blog about a month ago. i just wanted to let you know that reading your incredibly heartfelt, powerful words has become an important part of my daily routine. its pretty cool and funny how God can use a complete stranger to make such a difference in my life! ive passed the link to your blog on to other spiritually minded people in my life, and they have been equally moved by your postings. you have a real gift. keep up the great work!
thank you!

dee dee said...

Amen to that!

Great post. Then again, I've been impressed with your whole site. You're a terrific writer!

Tyria said...

You are truly an inspiring voice in Christianity. I hope that we can all "break the rules" and start to live as Jesus did.

Thank you for blessing me!

T-Rex said...

This was such an incredible post. It helps me to realize how guilty I am of being too much of a church member and not a Christ member.

You have such a great way of articulating the truth! I look forward to reading more of your work!

sarah said...

I want out of the box. I want out of a culture that thinks "rule-following" is Christ following. I want to live like Christ did--with love. Ofcourse, Christ also lived with total holiness. And I want that, too.

I want to walk in the New Way of the Holy Spirit. To learn to love and to let the sin of my life fall away.

You've blessed me with your words!

Andre said...

Thank you all for your terrific comments.

@ Ellena: You bless me incredibly with your kind words. To answer your question, most of my thoughts are reflections from that day or week. Things happen that capture my attention and I comment on them. But I also want to make sure that my ideas are supported by the Bible.

@ Anonymous: Maybe one day if you lose the 'anonymity', we can share in more discussion. I think it'll be fun!

@ dee dee and tyria: Thank you!

@ t-rex: I'm not trying to make you feel guilty (though I understand how you might feel that way...I do!). I just want to challenge you and ME to follow Christ in action and in spirit.

@ sarah: I think that you're definitely on the road to following Christ. I think that He's pleased with you.

Thank you all for your comments!