Tuesday, February 24, 2015
the greatest of these
I recently saw on a fb group i'm in where someone said that the most important thing that God wants from us is simple: stop sinning.
on the surface, this seems to have merit. and many people think this exact thing about God, the Bible, and religion in general. but it is sadly in error.
this thinking agrees with St Augustine, who famously asked God to make him chaste - but not yet. and it agrees with the man who got very angry when he heard that homosexuals and atheists might go to heaven. "Then why have I been a Christian all my life??" he wondered.
Jesus talks about how this thinking is wrong in today's reading. He uses His strongest language against the self righteous hypocrisy of the Pharisees. the reason He was so hard on them is precisely what the people above didn't understand - what God wants from us is love. He doesn't want us to be so worried about our own holiness... so worried about "NOT SINNING"... that we look down on, ignore, judge, and hate those around us who are also sinning.
Jesus is not trying to steal a fun time from us. He's not trying to make our lives boring and lame. He wants us to have "life, and life more abundant.". He wants us to have great, amazing, wonderful, fun awesome lives. the Enemy wants us to have boring, lame, stupid, narrow, sinful, selfish little lives.
look at the first of the Ten Commandments. listen to what Jesus says when asked what the greatest commandment is. Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. and love each other like you love yourself. THIS is what it's all about. NOT "avoiding sin". if we are busy loving each other, "not sinning" takes care of itself.
God, please fill me so full of your love that I can't help but love you back... and love those around me.