rules.

i can’t remember why – i think i had probably had some disagreement with our GM at work about something (this happens a lot, we disagree a lot, we fight a lot, and she’s one of my best friends) and i, when i’m opinionated about something (at least related to work) seem to have trouble compromising and giving up my opinion – i have five words hand-written on the back of a Chase receipt and pinned to my prayer board:

 

STOP TRYING TO BE RIGHT.

it occurred to me one day that the cause of some of my greatest anxieties is the need to be right, correct.

it’s also occurred to me that we regularly pick on the Pharisees in the Bible for being too detail-oriented, for focusing on the wrong things, and not seeing the forest for the trees. when we’re not careful (and in my opinion, when we’re not humble) we laugh at them or berate them for thinking the things they do, wondering how they could possibly pick up on the things they do when right in front of them is Jesus, the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. how are they still concerned about when you can eat or what you can eat or how much you can do on the Sabbath or what you can do on the Sabbath?

but i realize i think like a Pharisee a lot of the time. not in the same way, maybe – i’m not necessarily focused on details of the law (Lord knows how much trouble i’d be in if i did, as in i regularly break it) but i do get to thinking about the “Christian” way of going about things: how Christians manage their finances, how Christians go about dating, how Christians handle friendships and families, how Christians deal with political issues, how Christians deal with social issues, how Christians deal with work, how Christians deal with pleasure/leisure/community, etc.

in other words, in my own mind, Christianity becomes a lifestyle or a schema or more of an opinion system than a belief system. instead of letting (the) love (of God) take root in people’s hearts (or my own) and seeing how it plays out, it becomes easy for me to make my own prognosis based on how i think that should look.

so my own response to things becomes something i try to control or fit into a box of expectations. i try to create blanket rules about how things should happen. i extend neither myself nor anyone else much grace when those “rules” are broken.

and (for lack of a better segue) those rules make for a pretty miserable way of living. they distract me, honestly. having those kinds of rules are, in my experience, exactly the type of things that keep me from having communion with God, from reading and gleaning from the Word, and from enjoying healthy, free relationships. they take my eye off the ball. they make me approach the Bible looking for a right answer instead of a revelation. they make me approach God looking for justification, not joy.

they make me think that Galatians 5:6 isn’t true – that there’s more that matters than faith expressing itself through love.

but that’s all that matters – that’s what the actual word of God says matters.

Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your mind, soul, and strength. He never said we have to love Him perfectly, just as much as we can.

Actually, Galatians 5:1-6 lays out the relevant parts of Christianity: freedom and love. Jesus set us free so we can be free, not so that we can become enslaved to another form of thinking (though Romans would say something about being a slave to righteousness) and it says that the only thing that counts is faith working through love.

maybe being right isn’t as important as being free, as being loved, and as loving other people.

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