This post was originally a Facebook post a few weeks. Upon encouragement from a reader, I have decided to move it here for a wider readership.
I have recently been reviewing a few cases of “Christian” failures that I am aware of (and no – I do not mean the inexplicable turning a blind-eye to the candidates’ – both of them – long lists of moral failures prior to running for president).
I am thinking of those I have met and those I only know by name/reputation that have been “good upstanding” church members and then abused children, cheated on spouses, embezzled money, and other serious moral failures.
In earlier days I would have only looked at the person(s) involved. Today though I have noticed that they were all in “conservative” denominations. To a certain extent this simply reflects the reality that I am more likely to meet people from “conservative” backgrounds. But at a different level, I believe that this is pointing to a bigger issue.
Every denomination (no matter how “conservative” or how “liberal”) has standards. The following of these standards should be a matter of faith. A belief that the standard represents a biblical ideal that should be adhered to. Faith is freeing – Freedom (at least not as I understand it) is not doing anything you want without consequence. Freedom is not being ruled by base instincts and having the ability to choose a more fulfilling life. Having standards that are informed by scripture and choosing to follow them is a matter of faith.
I am afraid there are too many people (including those I have been thinking about recently) who do not actually have faith. Instead, they have rules. Maybe they were born into a system of rules. Perhaps at some point in their lives they found the boundaries created by rules to be comforting and elected to place themselves within the rules. Regardless, rules are not freeing. Rules are restricting. Sometimes those restrictions are needed. After all, we do not want chemical waste to be poured into our water supplies do we (for just one example of restrictions that we should support)? But when it comes to rules masquerading as religion – rules are simply oppression. Oppression eventually leads to resentment. Resentment eventually leads to acting out and breaking the rules. And, even if the rules were oppressive, breaking the rules almost always means hurting those around you.
If you have read all of this I am impressed – it is more than I would read on a screen.
More importantly – ask yourself: Do I have freedom that comes from faith in a Saviour that came to give life and give it more abundantly? OR, Do I have a system of rules that at the end of the day are simply a form of sanctified oppression?