I have been taking an Enneagram class at church which helps it’s participants take an in depth look into their behaviors that create personality. We spend a lot more time analyzing the shadow side of our behaviors than caressing our egos by diving into our strengths. Focusing on the shadow allows us a chance to really develop lasting change for our lives. Most often in our human walk, true transformation comes from the dark moments we trudge through.
As the class progressed we started talking about sin. Sin led into a discussion of law. Then out of that our leader looked around the room and said, “Law creates sinners.”
|Vessel created by Rick Crown|
Without the law there would be no definition of what is perceived “good” or “bad.” It is the law that creates the boundaries that gives us permission to define who is a sinner and who is not. What a sin is and it is isn’t.
This is what drove Jesus so crazy about the legalism of the Pharisees. They kept the laws. They created the definitions. They got to be “good” and everyone else was “bad.” Laws for goodness and evil can become just another “good person to-do list.”
Our leader brought up the story of Jesus and the Disciples eating grain on the Sabbath. They were immediately called out by the Pharisees for breaking the law. Jesus did that on purpose so that he could force them into a situation where they had to choose between law and goodness. Obviously, it doesn’t matter if it is the Sabbath if you have to feed people who are hungry, you just feed them and that is good. Law keepers can’t choose between keeping laws and being good. It is all the same in their eyes. It was a catch twenty-two. Jesus scored, that day.
The most frustrating part of working in a church community is ministering with people who keep the laws. People who have their personal laws, social laws, and scriptural laws written in a neat list that they check off and must ogle over, satisfied at the end of the day, reflecting on how they “did everything right.” That must be a nice feeling.
However, I can’t think like that and I have a hard time believing that any sort of living is happening between those check marks. Jesus calls us into a life of BEING love. This means that we have to be open, be real, be present, and be aware. In all of this being, there is no check list that defines us as good or bad. There is no black or white. There is life, God’s presence and tapping into His love. There is being satisfied, being full, being whole and being filled.
I’d rather be any of those things than practice being a law keeper. How about you?