I’ve actually had lists on my mind for the past three months. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not making a resolution list this year.
What do lists do to me? I have opposite and parallel emotional responses to lists. They point out all the ways in which I am failing (and will be condemned) and they lead me to judge others to make myself feel better because I am not as bad as them.
Let me clarify: we shouldn’t hate all checklists. Task-orientiend lists can be greatly motivating to complete your tasks and projects. These same lists can’t be applied to people, that’s where judgement comes on the scene.
Take the 10 commandments for example. God gave us these to set up some boundaries–not to box us in or inhibit us from enjoying life to the fullest–so that we could enjoy a fuller life. If we step over the boundary for our selfish pleasures, we’re going to hurt our self and others in the process.
Enter human nature. If I stay within the guidelines (and throw in some good service for good measure) but my mind is full of anger and judgement, am I really all that holy? Or are the commandments being used rightly if others condemn me for life for a wrong act committed thirty years ago? It’s as if we’re using those stone tablets to stone ourselves or others.
I think that as the church, the bride, we are called to be more of a haven of grace, a place of rest and refreshing. To display this list first and foremost may diminish the impact of the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ and of the forgiveness we receive, and are to give, daily as Christians. Wouldn’t it pretty tempting to our pride to be able to “check off” the commandments we are following and compare that to how we see our brothers and sisters? Or we’d develop a sense of guilt or shame because we can’t measure up to the standard the moment we look at it?
God’s not sitting on high making a list and checking it twice, then condemning us when we fall short. All of us deserve so much more than we receive… The truth is that there has been only One who could perfectly follow the law. If all the angels rejoice over gaining one who was lost then just like a shepherd, Jesus is moving to meet us where we are, stuck in the thorns and the brambles, and patiently providing our way of escape, Himself. In fact, he’s our only way.
‘”Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.[…]Ye have heard that it was said […] But I say unto you'”