Friday, June 17, 2011
Well, since I can't get Ben to start his own blog, I am using my blog to showcase his amazing photography. He uses an ipod to take all his pictures, then enhances them with an application right on the ipod! He even got a nifty copyright symbol that goes on every photo he takes!
Now...today's topic... seems a little strange. I often wake up with a word or thought on my mind that must somehow percolate overnight. The children were telling me yesterday about a person they know that bothers them, but they could not put their finger on what it was that annoyed them about this person. After describing several interactions with this individual, the conversation turned to something else. I didn't think about it after that, but I guess my brain was working on it subconsciously, and this morning I woke up thinking about the less than noble quality of being exacting.
So what does it mean to be exacting?
An 'exacting' person constantly keeps score: "I did this for you, so now you need to do this for me." Of course, this isn't stated out loud (in most cases), but even worse, the tension of being 'even' is always there.
An exacting person, in the name of justice, equality, respect, and virtue, demands perfection and accountability for all actions- even to the point of sacrificing the relationship. The law is to be upheld at all costs, excluding charity and love of one another.
I think the pharisees must have been an exacting sort of people. Even when Christ performed the most amazing miracles, they could only see the breach of the law (healing on the Sabbath, etc..) But God never said that the law is supreme; the law is not an end in itself. In fact, when questioned regarding the greatest commandments, Jesus responds:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
The law is dependent upon love of God and man; love is not dependent upon the law!
The Lord does tell us that if we love him we will keep his commandments:
And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. (24) Whoever keeps his commandments abides in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. (1 John 3:23-24)
But in conjunction with this mandate he says that God has commanded us to love one another.
He also tells us that without love, anything we do is fruitless:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (2) And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (3) If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
So the bottom line is, I need to remember in all my actions that love must be the driving force. Things may not be "exactly" right, or even as they should be, but are made perfect in His love.
"It has been told you, O' man, what is good, and what the LORD does require of you, only to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God". (Micah 6:8)
"The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven..Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."