My youngest son has an annoying habit of cutting you off as you discipline (ok long lecture) him about his behavior. It’s very irritating because just as you’re getting warmed up with a poetic, Shakespearean-long, flowing speech about the why nots and wherefores of his behavior, he cuts you off to dispute! My oldest boys are smooth operators. They sit there patiently listening, feigning interest with just the right amount of remorse pasted on their face, to get the speech over with and back to doing whatever offense got them in trouble in the first place.
I was recently addressing this irksome behavior with my youngest. And believe it or not, in the midst of me pointing out this fault of his, he cut me off to dispute that he doesn’t cut people off!!! I said, so you know you just cut me off to say you don’t cut people off… so …. umm …. ya kinda just proved my point. But of course, as I was trying to get that out, he cut me off again to say that he did not interrupt me while I was speaking! Seriously? Really?? So I just took all his electronics away and decided, I’ll try to explain another day. Perhaps he’s too young or I’m just too old and tired.
But as I sat in the seat of judgment, pondering the next level punishment I could give him to really drive my point across, God said something to me. “You know you do the same thing to me.” I immediately cut him off to say – I absolutely do not!!! Then he played the “highlights reel” in my brain of times when he was trying to tell me something but I disagreed with him and didn’t listen. Now don’t you go getting all high and mighty looking down on me. If we’re all honest, we all do that to God every now and then. I’m so bad that at times, God will say something, I’ll dispute it, and then he’ll have to show me a scripture to prove it. Ohhh whhyyyy does he always have to have the last word?
The other day, I was angry about something that someone had done. The offending action was really aimed at my kid – so you know mama bear instincts kicked in. I was going to tell the person about themselves (in a professional, nice-nasty sort of way of course). But God said, “Nope, don’t you do anything.” Oh, I disputed that counsel right away! I told God this person was “owed the opportunity” to see the error of their ways. I simply had their best interest in mind. I was really doing it out of public service. I reminded him that His Word, says, “the truth shall set you free.” And didn’t Jesus tell us to set the captives free? So basically, I’m just being obedient to scripture….
How many times have people twisted scripture to push their own religious perspective and personal agendas? Yeah, I was that Pharisee.
God then responded by “bringing into remembrance” scriptures that I have read, studied, and used when I was feeling all pious: love your enemy, carry his heavy pack for miles, turn the other cheek, loan money with no expectation of ever seeing your money again (and do all that stuff with a good attitude). Check it out in Matthew 5:38-48. If you’re a Christian but still a tad bit hot-headed, this scripture will blow your mind!!!
Then he showed me the scripture where Jesus talks about the two greatest commandments: Love God, Love others. Jesus explained that all the other commandments, orders, directives hinge on those two love edicts. Directly quoted, the scripture states:
One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:35-37, 39-40 NIV)
And then he “Dropped The Mic.” He was done. Nothing else needed to be said. There really isn’t any debate to that reasoning. He was right. I was wrong. Good news though is when God wins, everyone wins. Because loving others as yourself doesn’t come with conditions (like love them only if they deserve it). Believe me I scoured the bible to find that legal loophole – it just isn’t there. It actually says if we only love those who are lovable, we get no credit. Dang! So by loving our enemies, the enemy wins (grrrr). But we win too! Grace and God’s agape love takes greater root and claims more territory in our heart.
Through these humbling opportunities to “grow”, I’ve come to realize, my arms are to short to box with God. It’s said that obedience is better than sacrifice, but equally important is my ever-evolving revelation:
Obedience is better than disobedience.
Drop The Mic.