What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

24 March 2013

In or Out?

This is going to be one of those posts wherein I discuss the Bible, Christianity, Jesus, and my relationship to all three. If that's not really your scene, I take no offence if you duck out now and come back tomorrow when I talk about the A to Z Challenge.

So! This morning our pastor read from Matthew 5, including this verse:

"Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 5:19, ESV)

... and it jumped up and smacked me in the face as if I've never seen it before.

I grew up, as I suspect many people my age and older did, in an era of Christendom that taught that any sin, intentional or not, was enough to knock you out of a relationship with God, and you were "out" until you asked for forgiveness. In my late teens, I finally started reading the Bible for myself and found out that these things were not in there. But for all that, I continually hear one list after another of things that are "essential." Everybody, every group, has their particular things that they think should be a priority, and some are more than willing to jump up and down on anyone who falls short.

But it turns out that missing something "essential" doesn't mean that you're out. Jesus said so. "Least in the kingdom of heaven" still includes the phrase "in the kingdom."

God has much more grace that we give him credit for, if we're willing to throw people out and he isn't.


Karen Peterson said...

I completely agree. In my view, God is our Heavenly Father. And just like our earthly parents (for most of us) he wants our happiness. He doesn't want to kick us out of the kingdom. He wants us to return to him and he's going to help us any way he can. That doesn't mean he'll just overlook certain sins, but it does mean that there's a lot more mercy coming than a lot of people expect.

Su Wilcox said...

Yes, exactly! I definitely don't want to give the impression that there are no consequences for sin, when there certainly are. But I'm way not on board with sending other people to hell because we may not agree on something.