15th April 2019
“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widows cause.”
It’s not rocket science is it.
Even Bill Esquire Prescott and Ted Theodore Logan could work it out, summing it up with the simple rule “Be Excellent to each other”
I’ve picked out this verse from Isaiah exhorting us simply “don’t do bad stuff” but instead “do good stuff” because I read it today, but in truth I could have found any number of verses with the same message.
Over and over the bible commands us not to be assholes! Over and over the bible commands us simply to be nice! But for all our fancy theology, our books and sermons on biblical exegesis, our years of study, our doctrines and arguments about doctrines, 2000 years since the birth of the church sometimes it seems we still haven’t grasped this simple message.
Perhaps this was why Jesus spent so much time talking to children, and telling us to be more like children. Children don’t understand substitutionary atonement, they don’t waste their time arguing over whose interpretation of Revelation is the correct one, they don’t care whether women wear hats in church, but they understand when someone is being mean, and they easily grasp the concept of being kind.
Christians! We love to over complicate things. We love to study, we love rules; why do we love rules so much when Jesus constantly criticised the Pharisees for their love of rules over their love of people? We love to argue. We love to tell people they’re wrong…. Don’t have sex outside marriage, don’t have abortions, don’t be gay, don’t marry unbelievers, don’t allow women to preach in your church… Don’t, don’t don’t! We love our don’ts! Don’t we? Yet I can’t find any example of the bible commanding us to tell other people how to live their lives; nowhere are we exhorted “make sure those around you cease to do evil, make sure those around you learn to do good” we’re only ever told to examine our own hearts.
And that’s what it’s all about. Our hearts. We just need to love people like Christ loved people. At the end of the day God doesn’t really care if you’re an egalitarian or a complimentarian, a Calvinist or an Armenian; he doesn’t care how many theology degrees you have or what your churches stance on gay marriage is. This may be controversial but I’m not really 100% sure he even cares if you call yourself a Christian. He cares about your heart. He cares about what you did for the very least in society, for children left with no father, for women abused by their partners, for the sick, the poor, the addicted, the disabled. He cares whether your words build people up or tear people down. He cares whether people meet you and feel the love of Christ or the wrath and judgement of the God you’ve created in your own image.
And that’s the crux of it. Just. Be. Nice