I really have to questions God’s judgment in giving us free will as evil continues to explode in the world. Even though without freedom of choice we would have a pain-free – an evil free world – I suppose even with that, I still choose free will. I am free to love my husband; free to love my children; free to love my friends, free to love my enemies (at least I am free to choose God’s grace in forgiveness); free to love God.
It is for freedom that Christ has set you free.
David and I have a saying in our home regarding babies – they drool and grab electrical sockets, crawl right off of a bed or stair, put all manner of objects in their mouths, would even eat a dog turd as if it was a Tootsie roll if they can get a hold of one. (Yes, I had one get a puppy turd one time.)
“Cute but dumb!”
Jesus quoted the Hebrew Scriptures (“Old Testament”) often. We know that. His most commonly mentioned theme was the Ten Commandments as a whole, mentioning them eight times. But what I didn’t know, was His most common theme in combination with the Ten Commandments was mercy over judgment. I believe He quoted Leviticus 19:18 twice,
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Lord.
What also parallels this is the following which he states in gospels three times,
Hosea 6:6, For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Isaiah 29:13 The Lord says: These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.
There He was, living among the people, working miracles, and often surrounded by the antagonism of those who only understood their doctrines, dogmas, rituals and belief system. They were dedicated to living out their faith and more concerned with clean hands than the teachings of Jesus who exhorted them to cleanse their hearts.
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. Mark 12:28-33
Why is this so hard to understand for the church today? Why do we fall back into religious laws, programs, judging others by how many times they are at the church, whether or not they tithe, if they believe the same way about eternal security, speaking in tongues, worship style, baptism, foot washing, prayer, women in ministry, or a gazillion other things that the genuine church of Jesus Christ should not divide over.
Everyone is afraid. Fear of being in doctrinal sin undermines the work that was completed on the cross. Fear of not doing enough, even though grace has done it all for us.
Fear of being in darkness rather than being guided by the One Light who shines most brightly and illuminates The Way.
Jesus and the Father must look at us with love and say,“Cute but dumb.”
“I died that they may live free and in peace with each other and themselves.”
“I died so others may know them for the love they have one towards another.”
Free will to choose Grace.
Free will to choose Love.