obligation

I think I have always balked at obligation in some way or another. I am called rebellious often, I even call myself rebellious, I think though that is an unfair characterization of my heart. It calls to mind a wayward heart that doesn’t get with the program just for not getting with the programs sake. It calls to mind the person who thumbs their nose at institutions and societal or religious norms just because. I think of a 3 year old screaming “NO!!!!! I DO IT!!!!! Or a kid refusing to do something just because others think they should.

Surely rebellion is in me, it always has been and until I meet Jesus it always will be. But does that necessarily mean that I am rebellious by nature? I don’t think so.

I rebel against what is expected of me to be sure, but it is the expectation that I be someone I am not. I rebel against an authority that tells me I must hear and obey because they are the authority, even if the teaching is unbiblical. I reject that anyone has all the answers and I will look for myself, I will question. You have the right to teach me only if you truly know more than I. Like me, I am fat, I don’t tell other people how to get unfat because obviously I haven’t figured it out. Conversely, don’t try to teach me about holiness while you walk in bitterness.

I did everything out of a sense of obligation for so long. I am obligated to minister. I am obligated to act a certain way, got to church on sunday and attend womens meetings. I am obligated to prove that I have had spiritual growth, I am obligated to take care of others because I need to be selfless so that others don’t have to.

So yes, I rebel. I rebel against all of the above. It took me a long time to get there, to lose the obligation to people and being who they think I should be.

But here is the thing. I am not in rebellion to God. My heart is soft toward Him. I am convicted ( not shamed ) of every little thing I do. I feel in my heart when I am grieving the spirit with my thoughts and behaviors. I feel it when I let Him down. That does not speak a rebellious spirit to me.

I will not be obligated to an ideology, a theology, a person, church or ministry ever again. I will however do my best to honor my obligation to the Lord. God is the only one who should be able to expect certain behaviors out of me. If I am living up to my obligation to God, whom I love more every day, I am surely going to be able to do better the things that God sets before me.

Let me love my God freely, let me serve my God freely, and I will likely not disappoint you. Tack me up to your expectations and I won’t meet them sometimes because I can’t and sometimes just because.

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Pride and Prejudice

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Elizabeth Bennet: You’re mistaken, Mr. Darcy. The mode of your declaration merely spared me any concern I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner. You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it. From the very beginning your manners impressed me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit and your selfish disdain for the feelings of others. I had not known you a month before I felt you were the last man in the world whom I could ever marry!

To Whom It May Concern,

Although the above quote is from a movie and it is a dialogue between a man and woman, it could be the very thing that I would say to the Christians who have wanted to “minister” to me in my life.

Perhaps if you had behaved in a more loving manner. Perhaps if from the beginning you had offered me love and friendship I might have been able to see the love and friendship Jesus was offering. But from the very beginning your manner was a manner of amused arrogance because I was not “saved”. As if you were the rich person from the right side of the tracks and I was beneath you and from the wrong side of the tracks. But in your “benevolence” you would seek to help show me just how beneath a christian I am.

Perhaps had you looked at me as a human being and not as a project. Perhaps had you wanted to see me and not my sin. Perhaps had I not felt like I would be another notch on your salvation belt. Perhaps.

Maybe if you had been willing to lay down your pride and judgement, your sense of self-righteousness, I might have seen a God who died on the cross for my salvation. Maybe. Maybe if you had come to me at the well of my despair. Maybe if you would have just looked at me not through me. Maybe I could have seen the piercing love of Christ, felt His kindness and repented. Maybe.

but it is not that way. I am a project for your youth group. I am a goal in your missions trip. I am a number in your “we saved 1000 people today”. I am not a person. I am not a living being created by God as you are. I am a pagan, I am an unbeliever, I am a backslider…….I am an enemy that you must overcome.

And you have treated me with nothing more than your disdain. You have treated me and my heart with a carelessness born out of the entitlement of your adoption in to Christ.

And now I think I would rather sit in hell than become someone like you. Now I think that you can keep your Jesus because really he is not interested in my heart. I come to this conclusion because you say being a christian is being Christlike. If you are any indication of what Christ acts like i’m not missing anything.

So thank you for your concern, but maybe next time you will have dinner with me just to have dinner. Maybe next time I can come to your bbq’s and your childrens birthday parties. And maybe you will come to mine. maybe your kids can play with my kids. Maybe we can be friends and maybe if we can be friends I will see who the real Jesus is.