People have many objections to faith, one of which is the fact of having anything forbidden them. They claim it restricts their freedom and they do not like the dos and don’ts. We Christians retort by saying that it is not about rules but about relationship, and when you come into relationship with God, then you want to do what pleases Him, and besides when God says He does not like something, it is for your own good, because sin hurts you.
Definitely true, and I myself have often times said as much, yet increasingly, I wonder if we are totally right; I wonder if we are not just playing to the whims of a spoilt, self absorbed generation with a heightened sense of right and no sense of responsibility, and intellectually dishonest to boot.
How can anyone imagine in all truth and honesty that God could be, and find everything we are and do acceptable. We do not find everything we are and do acceptable. We do not find everything other people do acceptable. We fight and argue with others because we disagree with their way of being and doing. We are constantly trying to change other people (though we will never admit as much) and bring them over to our manner of seeing.
True we have reached a consensus in some areas that people should be free to have whatever opinion they want to have, but it does not stop us holding arguments, debates etc, to prove our point nor does it stop us still maintaining in practice, if not in philosophical discourse, the idea of right and wrong.
Absolute freedom is a myth. We all accept limitations to our freedom by institutions that have some kind of hold over us and the power to enforce obedience. We accept that the State may compel us against our will to pay taxes, that the company may compel us against our will, to show up at work at 9.am and not leave till 5pm even though we have no desire whatsoever to comply; because we know that failure to comply will entail punishment.
We send paedophiles, thieves and murderers to prison because they violate not only our ideas of right and wrong, but our rules and laws governing people’s conduct.. We thus arrogate to ourselves as human beings a right that we deny the Supreme Being, to dictate right and wrong conduct, and mete punishment for violation of His rules.
So perhaps Christians need not be so diffident about letting people know that yes, God has rules and He expects you to obey them; and why protest, after all, your entire existence is regulated by company laws, association rules, laws and state decrees, conventions, etc. Perhaps we need to point out the inconsistency in their reasoning. Yes, indeed God is the loving Father but He is also the Almighty, the God of all creation, ruler over the earth and the heavens and His standards of right and wrong are infinitely superior to ours.
Then people will know as they willingly opt into this great family of faith that obedience to God is a part of the package, that God, strange as it may seem to them, has laws, and He expects you to abide by them; that grace is not a blank cheque to sin. Perhaps then we will have less permissiveness in the church and less of this proclivity to praise lustily on Sundays and live lustfully on weekdays.