Sunday, December 25, 2016

Love Behaves Properly; God Behaves Properly

The word in the original language can be translated "without proper shape or form." It has been rendered in English as: unseemly, improperly, and rude. It reminds me of someone trying to put a round peg into a square hole.

All societies and cultures have "rules" about what is appropriate behavior in different circumstances. For example, it would not be considered proper to proclaim (loudly) a person's failures, weaknesses, or deficiencies at his funeral. Nor would it be appropriate to climb on a table, and dance, at that same funeral. All sorts of "rules" are developed to give guidance to all sorts of behaviors: greetings, how to address, eating, and passing through another's personal space. Not following these rules is making a statement about one's attitude towards other people, their worth, their capacity, and ranking. Not following the rules says "You're nothing," "I'm better than you," and "I'm more important."

Jesus came, and assumed the form and life of a human being. He did this, so he could be the perfect representative of all human kind, and, as that representative, satisfy God's justice for the rest of the human race.

And in this coming, by and of itself, God proclaims in a loud voice, that people have worth, people have value. He proclaims his love, and that he will do all that is within his power to bring people home.

There is a passage in the Bible that says, if God acted and went so far as to guarantee that God's justice will be satisfied for us (in other words, he has already done the hardest, most painful thing for us) it is a piece of cake for him to do all the lesser things.

God will always act properly towards us. He will always put a square peg in a square hole.

Some people will point out that Jesus did not always treat the Pharisees appropriately. The Pharisees were so certain that there perspective on the truth was correct, they were not willing to consider alternatives. God wants relationship with everyone ... even the Pharisees. So, Jesus went beyond appropriate to shake them into seeing things in a new way. Normally, one does not push a stranger violently out of the way. It is not appropriate. But what if the stranger was about to get run over by a car?

If one of God's children is willing to listen, willing to change, willing to learn, God will always treat them properly. And the choice to give allegiance to Jesus demonstrates that willingness. 

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