It’s hard to believe, but one of my most vivid memories from all the years I went to school actually took place the very first week of kindergarten. The teacher – a fairly strict woman for a kindergarten teacher – informed us that, “If you want to talk in class, you must first raise your hand.” Not long after hearing that official edict announced, and truly wanting to follow the rules of the classroom, I raised my hand in the air and began talking to the boy sitting next to me. The teacher sent me directly to the hall, incensed that I would mock her in such a manner.
At that point in my life, I wasn’t trying to be a smart aleck (that came later) – I was merely following the rules exactly as they were given to me. I suppose the fact that I was punished even though I had complied with the rules (as they were enunciated) really etched the incident in my brain. It all seemed so unjust, being punished by the teacher for something tantamount to a “technicality” rather than a true offense.
Unfortunately, I think this is sometimes the view we have of God: That he’s an overly strict school teacher who has laid down a whole host of vaguely worded rules in the hopes that he may be able to catch us in a slip-up or some other sort of “technicality”. Yes, God has laid down some rules [most of which, by the way, lean much more toward “brutally straightforward” than “vague”], but they weren’t given so God could play “Gotcha!” with the human race. They were given to lead us to Christ. The law given in the Old Testament demonstrated (repeatedly) that even straightforward rules given to well-intentioned people (such as I was in kindergarten) are impossible to keep perfectly. The law merely revealed our futility in order that we might grab hold of Jesus, our only hope of rescue.
Post by: Eron Elswick, Leadership Team