Sacred Cows

©Artsia
©Artsia

In ancient days when Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, he was gone for 30 days. Expecting him to return much sooner, the Israelites became impatient and surly. They wanted a leader and a God who responded to them NOW.

With Aaron’s help, they built a god to worship: a god they could control and define; a god they could see and touch; a god made to fit inside their own box; a sacred cow designed to approve of their own agendas.

What are your sacred cows? Abortion? The death penalty? Guns? Immigration? LGBTQ? Marriage? Prayer in schools? Whatever point on the spectrum you stand on these issues, do you worship them more than God?

Is your desire to be right on these issues more important than introducing people to Jesus through your compassionate, loving and grace-filled words and actions?

Do you remember that Jesus came for the sick and broken? Do you recall His main reason for being which He himself explained to Nicodemus (emphasis mine)?

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)

Jesus saves; he doesn’t condemn. Jesus invites; he doesn’t exclude. Jesus delivers grace and compassion; he doesn’t turn his back or refuse healing or help. Jesus offers life, redemption and restoration; he vanquished death.

He fulfilled the law because law does not prevent us from sinning. Jesus transforms our hearts and minds. He gives us the desire to shift our words and behavior, and we do that with the Father’s blessing and the Spirit’s help.

sand

Does Brexit matter? Does the person elected to sit in the White House matter? Do your agendas matter? Perhaps for a moment. But in the long run, the agendas, the people, the issues are only grains of sand among all the oceans.

As Christians, isn’t it time we shift the paradigm of the ways we respond to hot button issues?

Because right now, we’re still acting as stumbling blocks to the very people who may earnestly desire our help – to the very people Jesus came to save. And only His love and compassion – through us – can transform hearts and minds.

Are you ready to abandon your sacred cow in order to embrace a potential disciple?

 

20 thoughts on “Sacred Cows

  1. When Scripture is my “filter”, and I’m able to discern between my interpretation and my Master’s interpretation, and the beliefs of my culture sharply disagree with my Master’s interpretation, then what becomes the “sacred cow”? I have a choice to accept (or not oppose) the cultural belief or, to oppose (and acquiesce) to the cultural belief. Fortunately, not all “hot topics” fall into this category and there’s room for interpretation. But when it’s not about my interpretation, my Master’s view is clear to any who read it, I believe that it’s a disservice to avoid a stand against opposing views. Yet, this can be done in ways that still embrace the methods of Jesus who demonstrated love in the midst of opposing sinful behavior and thinking. He did love sinners, but He never accepted their sin, He died to overcome the penalty. No, He did not come then to judge, but a judgment is coming, and to not warn people they’re headed for disaster is to do them an unloving disservice.

    So on the one hand I agree with you we need to be loving, on the other I believe that silence or acceptance (even tacit acceptance) in order to not offend someone is offensive to our Master. Keep in mind the clear wording of Paul on this matter when he corrects churches for permissive attitudes toward those in their congregations known to be living in sinful lifestyles. Why do that if our Master wants us to accept everyone’s behavior? So a balance needs to be found where the redemptive purpose of our Master is held above our desire to avoid conflict or “hurting others”. It’s the Hippocratic oath that says “do no harm”, not our confession of devotion to Jesus. Jesus did harm, it needed to happen and was the loving thing.

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    • Matt, I have to disagree here.

      First: “when it’s not about my interpretation, my Master’s view is clear to any who read it” allow me to inject a little humility into the conversation. We can “be right” until the cows come home, Matt; we can shout to the rooftops that we speak for God – but are we allowing Him to speak through us?

      Second, where does it say biblically we are commissioned to warn people they are sinners headed for hell? Jesus’ commission to us is to make disciples. How can we do that by shouting and accusing? That is not only harmful, it does the opposite of Jesus’ directive; it turns them away from Him.

      Third, if you want a clear directive, read the words of Jesus himself: love. And btw, Jesus did no harm, Hippocratic oath or not. He loved first. He invited first. He invited people to dine with him first.

      Fourth, a prime example of the way Jesus handles this is in Luke 9:53-56. When he was turned away by the Samaritans, James and John wanted to rain down fire on the town. Jesus’ responses? “He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.’”

      If you read my post clearly, I never said to back away from our positions; I merely stated we must realize cannot make our positions more important than God.

      We cannot afford to get this backwards any more. We are chasing people away from the God’s kingdom because of our actions and attitude.

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      • That was where I was coming from when I posted. And when we let Jesus shine in us, He does the changing. Jesus sends me to people who have been abused in religion. It takes a good bit of time before they relax. They are slow to trust. My heart hurts when I see them struggling.

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        • Again, Susan, brilliant comment. We must let Jesus shine in us; we must make it safe for people to accept the love and saving grace He has to offer.

          Thank you for this contribution – you said it much better than I.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I found a book when I was trying to make sense with what I was taught growing up. And that author put it all in Jesus’ hands and just pointed out what Jesus wants us to know.

            The book was out of print (has since been reissued). It is The Rest of the Gospel.

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            • Thanks, Susan. I’ll look it up. And back to you; I’ve been reading a couple of excellent books. “Surprised by Scripture” by N.T. Wright, and “Executing Grace” by Shane Claiborne. I can’t stop highlighting in either one!

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              • Hi Susan, I work with N. T. Wright and Shane Claiborne. I wanted to recommend a couple other books that I think you might really enjoy – “Good Christian Sex” by Bromleigh McCleneghan and “Assimilate or Go Home” by D. L. Mayfield. Will you please email me? Thanks!

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              • Oh, what a terrific job you have! Thank you for the book recommendations. And of course I’ll email you later today.
                I consider N.T. Wright a spiritual mentor and intend to purchase several copies of Executing Grace as Christmas presents this year.
                Thank you so much for reading my post. 🙂

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      • Susan, my concern is that we, as teachers, not avoid topics in Scripture because it might offend. I’m no advocate of correcting theology of those without faith. I know people do that, but I see little sense in it. Within the community of faith, I don’t want to skew the perception people have toward believing that lifestyles contrary to Scripture are no big deal. Paul writes to churches to be careful not to do that. But he’s not writing to magistrates, or social/economic groups like guilds (think unions in our day). So in a sense I do actually agree with you, but only as we work outside our communities, not within. I hope that makes sense, and you can see where my lines are drawn. You may still not agree with me, but I think I’m reading Scripture right, at least it seems clear on this point.

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