Adjusting the Line
Society is in a constant state of flux. Yesterday’s norm becomes tomorrow’s distant memory. In the shifting sands of our culture, a realization of what is “right” and “wrong” moves from a foundational standard to the current desire of pop culture.
The news is inundated with what has become our ‘new normal’. Social media is overrun with the bully-ish push to accept or be labeled as intolerant. What was once considered the standard has been altered into a new ideal to live by, slowly adjusting those lines of “right” and “wrong”.
In so doing, many Christ followers have modified their view of Jesus- to a loving man that accepts all behavioral choices. Because of His love and sacrifice, Jesus would not really send anyone to Hell…right?
This is a foundational question that will guide our future paths. To answer this, we need to first define love. Many view love as acceptance, however, let’s be honest for a moment. Parents, who love their children, will attempt to guide them into making healthy choices. In the same way, Jesus’ ultimate desire is to guide us towards a real relationship with Him, knowing that this brings the greatest of blessings. Because of that desire, Jesus expressed His love through sacrifice- giving up His life so that we have a chance to make the next right choice. This is the reflection of love.
Never in Scripture do we see Jesus adjusting the lines to satisfy the cultural norm. Did Jesus ever lack love? Take a moment to ponder these Biblical examples.
First, at the Pool of Bethesda, Jesus encountered a man who has been disabled for thirty-eight years laying on the ground, broken and unable to find help. Jesus, in His love, healed him. Sometime later, Jesus encountered the same man and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you” (John 5:14).
Secondly, a woman caught in the act of adultery was brought to Jesus by her accusers. Broken and confused, the world desired judgment, however, Jesus gave no condemnation. Yet, in the midst of declaring her forgiven, Jesus told this woman to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11).
Despite our wrongdoings, Jesus offers us love and forgiveness, however, He does not adjust the lines. Through the act of love, Jesus maintains the definite standard of, “go and sin no more”.
In our society, we are walking a fine line of adjusting the standards to match our desires. Every small step away from Jesus towards what we want creates a larger gap in a real relationship with Him.
Jesus recognizes that, at times, we will make poor choices- decisions to satisfy our own desires. During moments of weakness, we will choose lifestyles in an attempt to fill a void in our hearts. Sooner or later, these adjustments in the line of what Jesus desires will develop consequences, leading to more brokenness. Through it all, the love of God will remain the same. Jesus died so that we may have the opportunity to make the next right choice back to Him, however, His standard remains- go and sin no more.