So, Maverick City & Dante. It's long over but I just need to say one more thing. BTW, although I disagree with decisions blah blah blah, it's MUCH BIGGER THAN THAT.
This blog is not about that. It's about the big picture, it's about us, as a whole.
This theme is an all too familiar matter in God's church & Christianity. And, I fear it's a mentality that is keeping us from 1) truly understanding the heart of God as beloved children (loving God), 2) truly seeing the grace we have been given (loving ourselves), and 3) truly being light to this world (loving people).
Yes, the MC story is over, but we have read it before and we will read it again but with new characters and new details. Yes, I've seen the alleged details of the old aforementioned story, but it's always the same general theme:
Christian is soaring.
Christian forgets to say grace over their snack, so the church gets all parenty and fussy & cancels said Christian.
Now, there are two sides of this response coin. You're either on the Protective Side - 'It's not just about love! You need to be holy. Stop watering down the gospel', or the 'Where is the LOVE? I'm scared to be myself in front of my own camp. They'll stone me if I burp too loud' side.
Which side you're on depends largely on things like how you grew up, what you've been taught, and subsequent experiences in adult years that have further fossilized that belief system.
It's hard to present truth when both sides think they are justified and correct. But I will still attempt it by presenting a parable. Keep in mind that your disagreement is fully permissible and welcomed, even.
We should mention though there is truth, and there is higher truth.
Truth: The person who hits my car deserves to be slapped
Higher Truth: Slapping said person won't help the situation
I could give tons more examples, even using Scripture, but I will move on. No one can speak for and represent God without knowing what He is like by His Spirit, in intimacy, not just words on a page. So I would like to present, in all humility, "God's side", as a Father.
To the Lovers' side, I say, God knows your heart. But like, for real. It's bigger than throwing that statement around to diffuse persecution from religious pressure. God actually does know the true intentions of your heart. He knows the genuineness of your motivations, words, deeds, and reasoning and therefore He is the only one who can judge whether it is the honorable truth for your life. Don't take this lightly! Continue seeking to know Him intimately, bringing Him into every area of your life and asking His guidance in your own life's story, as you study the stories in Scripture. Keep loving Him, loving yourself, and loving others well. He will defend your cause in the end.
To the Protectives, please hear me out. Although I am courageously asking you to view this from a different perspective, please note that it is still a reverent one.
Yes, reverent. Because I need you to know that we agree on the core fundamentals...
God is holy.
Grace is not to be abused.
Sin separates us from God.
Love is not a license to sin.
We get it. As a matter of fact, I'd say even the most vile sinner (who still believes in God's existence) would say the same. And that's the thing. People know right from wrong. It's just that not everything is as black and white as "right and wrong". Some things, yes. Other things, no. And so, how does one navigate that space?
Here's an illustration. Do you have kids? If not, imagine this...
You have three children whom you have presents for but the presents are conditional because you want them to learn something and mature so that they can grow up good adults and be just like you someday.. are you tracking with me?
One day you ask your three children to do five chores around the house: clean the kitchen, clean their rooms, clean the bathroom, clean their laundry, and keep the house clean. You stress to them that the fifth chore is the most important out of all of the other chores since all the other chores are affected by that one. You leave the house on your journey and leave them to their chores.
After a long day away, you return and call the children into the living room to come and share which chores they accomplished while you were away so they may receive their presents.
Your youngest starts, "I did all four chores, Mom/Dad, and I did them perfectly."
However, you know how irresponsible your youngest is. And that as soon as this moment is over, your youngest will proceed to continue being messy, sloppy, and careless around the house.
Your middle child says, "Well, I did all the chores, technically. There is still some trash in my room, but it's mostly clean. And I washed the dishes but I didn't wipe off the counters. And I only did one load of laundry but I have another one."
You appreciate the effort of this middle child, but naturally are thinking, 'Ugh, he just doesn't get it. Why bother doing the chores if you aren't going to do them all?'
Your oldest answers last, "Hey Mom/Dad. Did you see the video I sent you from science class? My teacher was so funny today and I knew you would laugh! And I told my friends what we talked about and they said I was lame because I talked to my parents about my life, but I don't care. You guys gave me good advice! How was your day? Did you finish your errands?
You are delighted to hear what the oldest child just reported to you. Yet the fact remains that they have not answered the question about which chores they accomplished since you've been gone.
"Sweetie, what about the chores I asked you to do today?"
The oldest responds, "Oh yea! I didn't actually do anything but the fifth chore, Dad/Mom." I've been tidying up as I go all month so things don't get too messy, so I didn't really have much to do. I know how much you love a clean house, since you said that was the most important chore. I've just been doing my best to keep it that way for you, so there was nothing for me to do today."
Which of your children performed the tasks the best?
Your youngest did them all, but is still missing the priority of general cleanliness and responsibility as being important to you.
Your middle child did them all, but with little fervor or genuineness of heart. Rather, they did chores just so you wouldn't be mad.
Your oldest didn't do any of the itemized chores you asked to be done in that moment, but in keeping the main thing the main thing, did they not do all that you asked?
And in their obvious love, enjoyment, and clear veneration for you as parents, do they not win you over? Do you have mercy for that child or scold him/her for not following the itemized instructions? Or do you praise him/her for hearing your heart and paying attention to what you were saying is of utmost importance to you?
Which child truly deserves the presents you bought for the one who obeyed what you asked?
Talk to me in the comments.
Now one of the experts in the law came and heard him debating. When he saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" Jesus answered, "The most important is: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." The expert in the law said to him, "That is true, Teacher; you are right to say that he is one, and there is no one else besides him. And to love him with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength and to love our neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. When Jesus saw that he had answered thoughtfully, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." Then no one dared any longer to question him.