Not a Courtroom
When I have a conversation with folks centering on the commandments, it soon becomes apparent that the setting in which these sacred words are often seen is that of a courtroom. In this courtroom, folks picture themselves standing beneath the awesome authority of the Supreme Judge who is seated in solitary splendor high above in heaven. In this courtroom, there is no one like us who may sympathize with our human frailty; only a cold hard judge. So folks try to somehow justify themselves or find loopholes in the law that lets them off the hook.
When this is the way folks see the commandments, it is understandable that they try to twist them for personal purposes rather than for what God intends. An example of this is when some very religious people came to Jesus with a question to test him and hopefully discredit him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” They really didn’t want to know what God intended for marriage. They wanted to twist God’s guidelines for their own purposes. Jesus won’t play this game, then or now. He knows that, in our sinfulness, even though two people are united in holy matrimony, they can fall into such a destructive relationship that the most loving thing to do is to allow the disillusion of the relationship before the people in it are destroyed. But that was never God’s intention for marriage and there is no loophole in his guidelines that makes it good. On that day the conversation revolved around marriage. It could have just as easily been about any of God’s guidelines. The truth is, we can’t justify ourselves before God by twisting His guidelines. We are much better off confessing our sinfulness and the reality that we live in a sinful world and then trusting that God’s relationship with us is not a courtroom relationship, but rather a courtship relationship. There is all the difference in the world.
The commandments are intended to be the guidelines within which the courtship between God and humanity is carried out. People in love don’t try to find loopholes in the commitment they make toward each other. Certainly, hurts and difficulties come up, but they are confessed, and forgiveness is offered and received. We aren’t perfect. God knows that. Out of His great love for us, He sent Jesus to be with us and take our sins and the sins of the whole world upon Himself so we can relate with God and one another in the loving relationship God would have with us. Trust in that relationship. Give thanks that Jesus understands your weakness and hurt. You are not alone. He will work with you through whatever is going on and be with you all the way. He loves you.
Spreading, Serving, and Sharing with You,