Having just finished my first year at Bible college I have found myself with more emotional, spiritual and mental freedom than I can remember having in my entire adult life. I am aware that a shed-load of this freedom is from having decided that I can’t be living with the massive range of rules that I had taken on over the course of my life. I had begun to see that most, if not all, of these laws, were man-made. I have grown to realise that every time you lay down a rule/law/ordinance etc etc what you actually manage to do is create a line and the lawmakers live on this side of the line and the lawbreakers live on the other side. And once again we have created separation.
I have read the book a few times and all through its pages it appears to be full of rules, laws and the like. Moses was known as the Law-giver. The friends of Job seek to find where he has broken the rules and therefore earnt the disasters that have befallen on him. Jesus spends a certain amount of effort making sure that he followed the rulings previously laid down. In one famous passage, he goes on to list the ways that his followers should behave which would then show others around them that they were indeed his followers.
And yet, when you look a bit closer you can see that any rules that were given were either a part of the plan to get people to see that rules couldn’t get us nearer to God or were specific to a time and a space. As you give it more thought it becomes clear that you can not possibly attach rules to the unmeasurable elements of life like love. If laws are fastened onto love it will become weighted down and cease to be love. Love has to be free.
I now see that I was caught under these man-made obligations all my life. I couldn’t see the truth that was in front of me because my vision was restricted by the long list of rules. It was through misunderstanding these rules that I had managed to negate myself from being a part of the human race and instead had become apart from the human race. Although I could speak fluently about the equalising level ground at the foot of the cross I was convinced that it didn’t include me. I and those of my ilk were not allowed to come near to the foot of the cross.
And yet . . . I can now see the wondrous truth that the opposite is true. I am not accountable for any of my actions. I worship the one true God that puts all my failings as far as the east is from the west away from him. As soon as I acknowledge my short-coming he forgets it. His overreaching desire is for me to know and experience love and that means letting go of man-made rules. It’s real hard to experience true joy when you are tied down by rules. It’s real hard to find true joy in the present-day Church because it is tied down by man-made rules.
I have been struggling for a few years to see the need for rulemaking/keeping middle of the road believers. I want so much to see their place in this great cosmic battle as being worthwhile. But I can’t. I can’t agree with their system where the newcomers are having the enthusiasm and joy beaten out of them by loveless rule-makers. I can’t accept this present system where if your face fits you can expect to be accepted but if it doesn’t then don’t expect any help or support except it comes with provisoes and the like.
I just come back again and again to the people pushed to the outside. They’re my people and they’re real. They’re generally more accepting of others, they have to be because they’ve been excluded themselves. Once they see the truth they become the most loving of all, those that have been forgiven much love much and the outsiders acknowledge the massive depth of their forgiveness. They know that they can never earn it. The outsiders learn to not judge because they know that they will be judged by how they judge. They just open their arms to other outsiders.
The rulemaking often comes from a place of being unable to accept the free gift of forgiveness. It stems from trying in some fashion or other to earn this gift. I spent years refusing to accept it as I wasn’t worth it, so I’ll just follow along quietly behind everyone else and hope that I am not caught out and challenged. I thought that by making my own list of rules I could point the finger at other people and redirect attention away from my sorry-assed unworthy self. I now see that this appears to be a fairly good description of how so many Christians live their lives. Scared of being caught out when the truth is that acceptance is ours to own.
As I reach further into that acceptance I need less approval from those around me. As I step away from seeking others approval I realise that they can’t point out my faults because my faults are as far as the east is from the west. My faults do not define me. Gods love is the only thing that can define me. I am a child of the most high.
So many words to try to explain such a simple idea. So much confusion to try to break free from, but when the mist clears the view is outstanding. I do not want to live by rules anymore except the rules of loving God and loving everyone else and just maybe I’ll be loved by those around me when they have got spare time from themselves to do so. The important thing is that I am loved by God, with that I have everything needed.
Oh abundant love