Photo credit: Alaina Tompson
Grabbing on to a Bible, holding it tight, memorizing each rule and law….. gives comfort to many who profess Christianity. But is that what Jesus really taught his followers to do?
Lately I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought about the topic of fear. Specifically in regard to my spiritual journey. I’ve noted throughout my life that sometimes, main stream Christianity seems to prey on people’s fear or anxieties in an effort to win souls to follow Christ. I guess there is something to be said about being able to count the people called to Christ… Yet, when I would search for examples in the Bible to support that method, I would come up short.
In years past I have clung to my bible with white knuckles. Pouring over words to clear my conscience… or seek direction (usually my preferred direction). While I think it’s a great idea to use the word of God to guide our own path…. I’m a little less comfortable than I used to be about deciding the “rights or wrongs” of life base in rules or doctrine of scripture.
Sometimes this seems obvious, but really… when we get down to some of the hot topic issues of the day are we really able to let go of mainstream religious bias? Are the churches that we are attending support systems for all people who want to follow Christ? Or are we merely creating social systems for our own comfort? Sometimes, I fear the latter of the two is winning out.
It’s scary to live in the Bible Belt and not concede to mainstream religious ideas. Whether we like to admit it or not, there is a great deal of religious bullying that occurs in rural areas like the Ozark’s. It seems as though people are divided into groups of “who believes what” or heaven forbid… “who doesn’t believe at all!” *gasp.
But. Is that what the teachings of Christ REALLY promote?
44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments
1At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.
2When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
3He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
4He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.
5Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent?
6I tell you that something greater than the temple is here.
7If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’a you would not have condemned the innocent.
8For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
9Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue,
10and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
11He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?
12How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Finally…. Paul says….
1 Corinthians 6:12
All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
The teachings are very plain. Whether they are most popular or not. If there was EVER an incident where Christ had the opportunity to show grace and mercy…He.Did.
Now. Am I brave enough to show grace and mercy?