I woke up this morning with the law on my mind.
Almost all my career has been working with companies who provide a service to other companies. Just as each human being needs resources to live, so do companies. And unlike each human, almost all companies will provide resources to another company on credit. The obligation to pay – but just not yet. And credit is governed by contract. A piece of paper agreed by both that is enforceable by law. And the ruling of a court of law is enforced by sanctions. Sanctions that allow goods and possessions to be taken.
And the reality is a lottery.
In the main I have worked for small companies. And where litigation has been necessary as the plaintiff or defendant I have been personally involved. On one occasion I was in court and the judge asked the plaintiff company suing my company: “Do you see anything else in your terms of business you would like to draw to my attention to before I give my ruling?” I scanned the paperwork (discretely) before giving a sigh of relief (silently) when the plaintiff replied: “No – nothing else I am aware of, madam.” We walked away from court with nothing further to pay.
And to this day I remember that particular case: “Does the plaintiff see anything else … ?”
I have no idea what that was. But I do know that we won the case because none of us spotted what the judge spotted. It wasn’t the judge’s job to share that knowledge – as “legally formed companies”, we were expected to know. And as we obviously didn’t – the judge ruled on the evidence presented that day.
We have this view of “the law”. That it will protect us. That it will keep us safe. That it will serve us. The reality is a process that has rules and sanctions and consequences that are often seen to be unfair by one party of the other (and often both). A process almost always used by those with a grievance. With a motivation “to get” – or to avoid “being got”. The “law” is not perfect but one side will always want to take (or stop being taken) from the other.
I read my bible – but I would never stand up in a court of law and use it as evidence. I don’t read my bible as a correct and infallible historical document – I read my bible because I have found it describes a way of living that describes unconditional love – that describes relationship – that has become my living relationship. I do accept my bible has been translated and interpreted and translated and interpreted – that some bits are left in and some taken out – and I don’t accept that makes it irrelevant. I do accept the bible was the one book offered to me because of where I was born and lived – I accept a lot of things that others who “don’t believe” believe that I “should believe”.
And I read my bible because the more I do – the more I find a living relationship today and tomorrow. The more I find a relationship of love without condition – unconditional love. I call this my relationship with “my God Soft Hands Jesus” – just as you would call me Paul (or him John – or her Elaine – or Judith – or whatever the name we each were given) – just as I might call you “J” or “Jonny” or “Jonny-boy” as I got to know you – I might make your name “our name” with a nickname of affection.
And if you took my bible away from me today and never gave it back – my relationship with GSHJ and unconditional love would live and breathe and flourish. How do I know? Because I love a lot of people – and no one ever gave me a book as to how I should love. But this book? It has taken my love beyond “love” – it has taken me to unconditional love. I have found something real I believe in. I have found Love beyond love.
And whether you believe I am correct or not – whether you believe there is a God or not – whether you believe there is just “this God” and some other – whatever you believe – we are all – ALWAYS believers of “something”. Because being a believer of “something” (or many “somethings” all at once) is how we all live.
That – for me – is not the important bit. The stumbling block is “the how” with each other. That – for me – is the important bit.
I was part of a long conversation with someone I love deeply over the weekend – different opinions – different beliefs. The questions could have been hurtful. The conversation could have been toxic. But it was not. There was the odd “ouch”. But there was no “ruling”, there was no “winner” and no “loser”, nor were there “sanctions and consequences”. Other than we both drew closer to each other – understood each other a little better – allowed each other to “be” a little more – and loved each other even more than before.
Now imagine “applying belief” like that to each other. About anything. I can. I do. I want to.
And I know some believe love is not enough – that we need rules and the law. And I know some believe that I should apply my belief in the same way as they apply their belief: in a court of law – with evidence – and rules – and judgement – one of us right – and one of us wrong. But what I find odd is we never seem to acknowledge that “proving faith and God” is an odd opening position to even “believe in”.
And more than this oddity of belief … an oddity of reality: that my belief (whilst having changed in the past) will not now change in the future. That my belief is now correct – is now static. Really? Well that was not true of your past – because now look at the differences.
My beliefs have changed and mine will continue to change. And I will only know of that change afterwards. So how can I say that will not happen again in the future? So how can one belief ever be “the only belief” (even for the same person)? And as for “proving faith” … ?
So just why do we get tied up in this “court of law” of beliefs? Where is relationship, allowing, affection, respect … where is the gentle “application of (changing) belief” … where is the “how” rather than the “it” – doesn’t that need love rather than a court of law?
And if we are talking Love rather than Law … might we talk unconditional love as a way of living (rather than an impersonal “it” of belief that may change)?
8 thoughts on “The “how” rather than the “it””
I really love this, especially coming from a legal perspective. It is such a unique train of thought. Being a lawyer is my job and I get “paid” to represent a “side.” I have learned to tailor my arguments to that “side.” It is quite the art, it is a shifting perspective. Good lawyers can argue their side, but great lawyers can argue both sides.
I like to strive to be that great lawyer, to see things from the other’s perspective, that I could get up in the middle of oral argument and start to argue the other side. I see my walk with God that way too, I don’t want to be His good follower, I want to be a great follower, not because of what I do or say, but because I can open my mind and my heart to see things from His perspective, from all sides.
This has opened such a lovely train of thought for me, and my post is so interrelated to this concept of acceptance and love and perspective. Love at all times…Great work my friend-
“Do you pick and choose whose life gets the title of sacred? Are you God?”
Mary, thank you. It saddens me that we seem to be in a place where those who “believe” are distinguished from those who “don’t believe”. As though the process of a belief in no God (or more oddly – a malevolent God) is so different to the process of belief in a God (whatever your name for that God). It is a non-argument – but one which seems to divide still. Then take that into the denominational and faith arena – and then into the “whose life gets the title of sacred” – and all we do is split our humanity and Love into every smaller fragments.
I share your comment about being a “great follower”. And for the same reasons. Oddly, for me, when that touches on some of the “sacred buttons” of other followers – there are some curious reactions!
Thank you for your comment. You have expanded my thinking! ((hugs))
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This was great sharing Paul. Thank you. I have been “pondering” and inquiring of broader “beliefs” lately. It’s wonderful – I feel……… well, in some ways born again again – LOL
Thanks for sharing ❤
Cate, with all you have in your life and living – each time you add a comment it touches me. Sounds like you are travelling quite a journey with your Lord recently. 🙂
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The key – having a conversation with someone you deeply love – right there. We must be willing to love. Be willing to allow the Spirit to move us to that place; to see the person whose eyes we look into as a living, breathing creation of God. Too often we don’t individualize; we compartmentalize, we ostracize, we demonize. We refuse to humanize, yet that is the thing that would allow us to love – to love unconditionally – and see beyond law into someone’s heart.
Yes, yes, yes – and yes again! 🙂
Ah Brother Paul, my Brother in Christ, my friend; if I could tell you the times you have stirred me to thought, to expand my thinking in a particular direction and also how many times you have been the vessel of confirmation for a direction the Holy Spirit is leading me, you probably would find it hard to believe (since we’ve known each other for sooo long now! 😉 ).
You stated something in one of your previous articles about how you have changed in your believing, concerning the Word of God and how as you have grown, the Word hasn’t changed but your perception has and here again, you hit on that very subject. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love your point on the Law as well, but you see, Matthew 22:35-40, could be your closing summation! “Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him,” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
You see, those that are still “chained and shackled” as our dearest Sister Susan has written, haven’t taken this Scripture to heart yet. You see, for quite some time now, even though in areas, I still fight with the “flesh” attitude of wanting to be right, I have looked at this set of Scriptures as a “Reader’s Digest” version of the Bible (not to be disrespectful either) as ALL the laws, the words of the Prophets and even the Character of our Heavenly Father is characterized in these verses. You see, His character is here because HE IS Love, so we are giving back to Him, what He created us to be, Lovers of His creation. It is no surprise that He created us with this ability and capacity to love for we ARE created in His Image, His character has been “breathed” into each of us and it only takes the acceptance of His Son’s gift to empower that part of our character!
Anyway, my brother, I so love and appreciate you in ways I never thought possible over distance, but for some reason, I feel our “spirits bear witness” with one another.
My grandson just arrived so I will wish you a very Joyful and Peaceful New Year and I pray God’s greatest possibilities in your and your families lives!!! God bless you my brother!
“you probably would find it hard to believe” – oddly : no. And wonderfully: no. Thank you for a connection that is God-designed! When I read your words, it is like sinking peacefully into the most comfortable armchair – I have no idea why. Reading your wonderful comments – you say words I find I have on my heart – but never even realised – and then I see them and they feel “right”.
The Readers Digest – ahhh sweet memories! I used to look forwards to the monthly fresh copy. I have the greatest respect for the “essence” writing they brought me for so many years. And yes – for me that coat hanger of “love me, you and all” seems a universal genetic code. It just “is” – but entwines everything else so wonderfully!
As I write this our eldest grandson is slumbering in the next room. We have become his haven of “one-to-one” respite. A place of calm and love where his unique “Afie” heart and soul can recharge a little more gently from time to time. Normal living being the rough and tumble of his own brothers and family.
Roland, I simply revel in this connection – thank you! May you and you lovely lady (loved that video on FB!) and your own family enjoy this special family time ((hugs))
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