Monday, January 16, 2017

What Love Does

Exodus 20

Our hearts are naturally rebellious.  It's a byproduct of free will.  We want to do what we want to do when we want to do it for the reasons we want to do it.  We don't like being told not to do something we want to do or to do something we don't.

But God doesn't give arbitrary commands.  He knows things that we don't.  He sees the big picture, while we see what's in front of us.  He sees consequences, we see what we want.  He sees the heartache our choice will cost us, we see the thrill of our action.  He sees the impact on others, we see our selfish desires.

There isn't one among us who doesn't wish we could go back and undo something that caused harm we didn't anticipate.  Heaven knows my list is a mile long.  But that list has also taught me something valuable.  God places His boundaries where He does for a reason:  love.

We give our kids boundaries because we love them and we don't want them to be hurt or suffer.  We want to protect our kids for as long as we humanly can because the thought of their heart breaking splits ours right in two.  It's not about cruelty or wanting to be the fun killer, it's about protection.  Protection of their minds, hearts, souls, feelings, emotions, bodies.  And if we show them our unconditional love, and they understand the magnitude of our commitment to them, they are more likely to accept our instructions.  Not all the time, there is that free will aspect to contend with, but at the very least they will realize that what we said was for their own good.

And if this is how we parent our kids, why would we expect anything less from God?  As our Father, He has given us His expectations for a reason.  We may not understand them, we may not like them or agree with them, but they are there for a reason.

The Greek word used for commandment in the New Testament (Matthew 22:38) is en-tol-ay', which means authoritative prescription.  Maybe as the Great Physician, Jesus was trying to teach us that what we see as a limiting rule is actually meant to bring us wholeness and health.  Assuming there are few of us that actually enjoy being sick, maybe it's time we take His medicine preventatively.

Jesus, we know that we will never do everything perfectly while we draw breath on earth.  But with Your help and sufficient grace, we can do better today than we did yesterday.  Help us to rely on your strength to make better decisions so that as we get healthy, we can help make others healthy, too.  Amen.


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