One of God’s most endearing qualities as a Father is his obvious love for plain-speaking. He doesn’t sugar-coat his Truth, and he delivers it precisely when we need to hear it.
I mention this because God recently brought to my attention (again) that what’s going on in the world with regard to restrictions and limitations is none of my business. The Anglican church in my home province of Nova Scotia shut down a few days before Christmas and cancelled all services until further notice. At the same time, the Nova Scotia government introduced restrictions that forbid churches from operating above 25% capacity, and decreed that all attendees be masked, stand at least 6 feet from each other, and not sing during services. Only one person in the whole building was allowed to sing; no-one else was allowed to sing, even on Christmas Day.
I have to admit that I was furious when I first read about these restrictions. I pounded out a few blog articles and letters to the editor and then deleted all of them, knowing even as I was banging away at the keyboard that my anger was misplaced. It was around the same time that God told me that what’s going on in the mainstream churches is none of my business. I don’t go to those places anymore, I don’t support them, and frankly I don’t respect them, so why should I care that they’ve been slapped with limitations that would make Herod proud?
Anyone who genuinely loves God and is genuinely following Jesus has already left churchianity. The people remaining in those organizations are not Christians in the true sense of the word. You cannot love God and follow Jesus and at the same time stand before God with your face covered out of fear of an illness and/or state decrees. The level of cognitive dissonance required to do that is mind-boggling. You either fear God OR you fear an illness and state decrees. You can’t fear both, as the fear of one cancels out the fear of the other. And if you don’t fear God, what are you doing in a church?
There were countless restrictions in place in Jesus’ time, most of them just as capricious and demoralizing as the ones in place now. But Jesus didn’t defy them or demand they be removed; he ignored them. They weren’t his concern and they weren’t his business. They were like rocks in the road that he had to step over or around. His job wasn’t to protest perceived injustices or make the world a better place; his job was to tell the world about a better place.
Most of what’s happening in the world today is none of our business. There was just as much (or even more) slavery, poverty, abuse, government corruption, misuse of power, colonialism, bigotry, racism, sexism, etc., in Jesus’ day as there is today, but Jesus never addressed any of those issues in his ministry work. They weren’t his business. They weren’t what he came to rectify. He came to free people from spiritual chains, not physical ones. He came to feed people spiritually, not physically, though in feeding those who wanted to be spiritually fed, he extended it to feeding them physically as well, as a reward for choosing righteousness. The spiritual realm was Jesus’ sole area of concern, just as it should be ours.
Which brings me to my final topic of conversation for today. Jesus helped all those who came to him for help and who specifically wanted the kind of help he was offering. He didn’t beg people to let him help them; he let them know he was there, and then waited for them to come to him, if and when they were ready.
People can only be helped by God if they put no restrictions on how God can help them. If you say “I want help” while at the same time adding “but I don’t want to give up (this) or (that)”, then you don’t really want help; what you want is the rewards of repentance without actually repenting. You want your sin to be accepted rather than purged. Lots of people come to God looking for help while putting restrictions on how much they’re willing to give up to get the help. Think of the rich young ruler who wanted to enter the Kingdom, but didn’t want to give up his stuff. God can’t do much to help those people, and neither can we.
To sum up, government-imposed limitations on our freedoms are not to be defied; like rocks in the road, just step over them or around them and don’t give them a second thought. They’re none of our business. In fact, most of what’s going on in the world today is none of our business. However, we should help all those who come to us specifically for help, as long as they genuinely want to be helped and put no restrictions on how we can help them.
The setting of restrictions belongs to the world, not to the Kingdom.
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