I do a lot of driving both in the city and on the freeway and I have to admit I can’t drive 55! While my wife is much worse than me, I find that I am always at least three or four miles over the speed limit…at least. In fact, when the freeway speed limit is 65 miles per hour I am usually going between 69 and 72 mph.
Now that’s no great threat to the safety of everyone on the road. We’ve all seen those maniacs blow past us going 85, tailgating the “slow poke” in front them doing 80! But, still, I’m technically breaking the law even if law enforcement doesn’t look to pull over middle-aged guys like me driving Toyota Highlander hybrids doing a few miles over the speed limit. Now my young friend Eddie who blew past me on the freeway last night in his white Mustang is another story!
But the funny part about this is we’ve all pretty much conceded that the speed limit, while keeping us safe, is more of a guideline than a strict law, even though the cops can and will pull us over and give us a ticket on a slow night. And we’re a bit indignant about that ticket if we’re doing less than five miles over the speed limit as if we really weren’t breaking the law, just pushing its boundaries!
Certainly there are other laws on the books we don’t particularly like and routinely ignore, such as jay walking, texting while driving, and a myriad of recreational drug use laws. But there are a ton of laws we all agree should be in place.
For example, we all agree murder, rape, child abuse, and any violent crime is bad and those who commit those crimes should be held accountable. We also pretty much agree that those who purposely damage another’s property should be prosecuted. We even agree that those who really break the rules for the ones we consider guidelines should be punished, like the guy going 85 buzzing in and out of traffic. Where’s the cop when you need him?
And that’s our problem in a sense here in America: We think we should determine for ourselves which rules are applicable to us and which are not. I think it has to do with the unique American characteristic of being free, having a self-determination streak, and our fierce defense of our personal rights. Now we all know that’s not really how it works. The law is the law regardless about how you feel about it, regardless if you get caught or not, and regardless even if they authorities decide to enforce or prosecute the law or not. It’s still the law.
Which brings us to scripture! You knew I had to be going somewhere with this, didn’t you?
We treat the laws and rules in scripture just like we do our own state and federal laws. Some we like, some we don’t but live with, some we break just a little bit, and others we just simply ignore. But like state and federal law, Biblical law is Biblical law and regardless of how you feel about it the authorities can pull you over any time and hold you accountable to it whether you like it or not.
Here’s what’s funny about Biblical law: Most of our secular laws come from Biblical law. Biblical law was given to us to keep us safe; secular law is given to us to keep us safe. The main categories of Biblical Law – take the 10 Commandments for instance – are the foundation of most of the secular law of this country (Don’t Murder, Don’t Steal, Don’t Lie, etc…). And like Biblical Law to which the Jewish leaders added 613 rules, bureaucrats continue to add rules, regulations, policies and procedures to secular law, making it more and more complex to adhere to.
But there is one big difference between the two. If you break a secular law and there is nobody there to catch you, you get away with it. If you break a Biblical law there is ALWAYS someone there to catch you and you will eventually have to answer for your actions.
This is where the rubber meets the road in today’s debates where those who don’t want to follow Biblical law get angry with those who do, just like the driver going 85 mph gets ticked off at the driver in the fast lane going 65 mph. “What’s that guy doing in the fast lane going the speed limit?”
I have to be honest here and say my experience with Biblical law is most Christians are hypocrites just like we are with the secular laws. While some right now are losing their minds over Gay Marriage because it breaks God’s law (and it does), they have no problem with divorce including those divorces that break the Biblical laws surrounding it. Some Christians vehemently oppose abortion because it is the killing of a child (and it is…60,000,000 since 1973 in America alone), but these same folks don’t have any issue with not loving their neighbor as themselves, or not turning the other cheek, or not judging, or not loving their enemies, or not praying for those who persecute them.
You see where I’m going here? It’s tough to obey all the laws when you think you are the one who has authority to pick and choose which ones apply to you and which should apply to everyone else! But we all know that’s not how the law works and that’s not how God works!
If we know that laws are made to protect us, then we must concede that all of God’s laws – the perfect law giver – are made to protect us. The jaywalking laws may seem stupid (I can figure out when to walk across the street) but the intent is clearly to keep us from being run over should we miscalculate. Some of God’s laws may seem stupid or as some say intolerant, but they, too, are meant to keep us from harming ourselves even though we believe we are not in any danger of doing so.
One big key to our discipleship as Christians is submitting ourselves to God’s law. No, I’m not talking about the Leviticus laws set down by Moses for the people of Israel as they came out of Egypt – enough of the inane comments about stoning homosexuals. When you say that you just show your ignorance of scripture and Jesus’ work on the cross. What I’m talking about are God’s moral absolutes or basic “Rights and Wrongs” that apply universally to all men and women. To follow Jesus you have no choice but to obey these laws or put another way, to be a disciple you’re going to have to agree to stop speeding, stop jaywalking, stop doing recreational drugs, stop texting and drive, and stop doing all the rest of the lawbreaking you do with God’s laws. Then you can be a true disciple.
Most I know won’t do that. The reasons vary some but at the end of the day it comes down to people demanding to exercise their right to choose whatever they want regardless of what the authorities have said on the secular and Biblical side. Their thinking is what they’re doing – albeit against the law – really isn’t that bad, especially compared to the stuff we think is really bad that other people are doing!
But that is skewed thinking and is your own justification for breaking the law! As mature Christians we need to change our mindsets and understand that we are not the ones who make the law and thus we are not the ones who get to pick and choose which ones we obey. God is good and His laws are perfect even if we don’t understand them, want to follow them, or even like them! He knows what is best for us so it’s time we start obeying even if it is hard to drive 55.