‚ÄúYet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath. Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath?‚Äù
(John 7:22-23 NIV)
I was just thinking about this and how God cared so much more about people being in a relationship with Him and having faith in Him than doing all of this stuff just right. To the Pharisees, all of life hinged on making sure you did every single thing just right and if someone did something wrong, finding out who did it and what exactly they did wrong.
God does not want us to be monitors and recorders of who wrongs us either. The Pharisees had a complicated flow-chart life of answering every moral question they could have. On what day should we circumcise a boy? What if that day is a sabbath? What if that day is a feast day? They could just click through the flowchart and think they knew what God wanted. Fast-forward that a couple thousand years, and they forget who that flowchart came from, and who it points to.
Saturday, my next door neighbor had a fire in his kitchen. Joe (my neighbor) severely burned his hands and had to be taken to Louisville for a few days to save his fingers. He is still there. He called me and asked me to take care of his dog and house and bring his stuff to the hospital, namely his laptop so he could skype his wife in Taiwan. On my way home I thought about Joe, and I thought about calling a guy at church that helped us move down here and get into living in the inner city.
At that moment I realized that for the past few years, maybe even a decade, I have viewed everyone I‚Äôve worked with or been neighbors with as someone to be targeted, served, witnessed to, and converted. I haven‚Äôt been very open about that, but it has come out some as I talk about them, or think about them, or pray for them. That was my whole life with every person I came in contact with in Asia, and my whole point of moving to where I‚Äôve moved.
But as I was driving home, I was praying for Joe‚Äôs fingers, and he just became Joe. He is a computer guy by trade, and if he lost his fingers it would be a big big big deal. I didn‚Äôt care about finding a way to witness to him or wonder if I should have slipped a bible into his computer bag or prayed by his bedside or something, I just cared about him being healed.
I feel like in my flowchart lifestyle, I‚Äôve disconnected myself some from people God loves, and just gone off of a self-created mandate to do christian things for people. I think God is starting to free me from my christianese and showing me how to just follow Jesus. He‚Äôs working into me a real love for my co-workers and neighbors that doesn‚Äôt keep track of a law and how they are breaking it, but instead is beginning to sincerely love them and care about them as normal people and not field goals. I can only imagine how much more the life of Jesus will shine out to real people instead of goals, but I‚Äôm not going to concern myself with that, else I just go right back where I was. I‚Äôll focus on Jesus, and His glorious ways, and love my neighbors at the same time.