Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Law, Finding Fault, and Self Service

Proclaiming the Law is never self serving.  At least proclaiming it properly isn't.

Well, what do I mean by that?  When one speaks the Law to another person, one is laying them bare, is killing them.  The Law kills.  It slays the Old Adam -- it kills what needs to be killed but it still kills.  But that killing is done in order that the Holy Spirit may make alive again through a word of the Gospel proclaimed as soon as the Law has done it's work.  Using the Law is always to be a service to the neighbor, to be about their good, their benefit.  It *is* to be an act of love.  And as an act of love, the follow through of the Gospel and Comfort will be second nature -- but if there is no love, it will just be hanging, dangling law.

Consider -- if you see a child ready to play with poison and tell them no, that is a act of love -- that's what properly proclaiming the Law is.  But imagine for a second a person who thought, "Oh boy, if that kid eats that poison, they will throw up, and I think throw up is icky, and then I'll have to waste time taking them to the hospital, and think of how much money that costs... meh, I better stop them."  How is the child going to be stopped?  Just a harsh word and then left alone?  Now, a parent who loves the child will say no, but then also sooth the cranky child, find them other things to play with, teach them what is good to play with and what is bad -- in other words serve the child.  That way there is growth and life.

So - consider this.  How often do you speak the Law in a self-serving way?  How often do you proclaim the Law not so that you may then speak life and salvation to your neighbor, but rather in a self-serving way? How often is your "law" (if you can even call it that) simply a venting of your own disgust, a pious blathering of self-justification at the expense of denigrating your "morally inferior" neighbor.  Is the Law a tool you use to drive the annoying away from you, to elevate yourself - or is it a tool God uses to break sinful hearts so that they might be restored?  Do you give thoughts to the hopes of repentance... not just in the "I hope they stop bugging me sense" but in the "they ought to be my brothers and sisters who I will continually care for" sense?

Bilbo Baggins said that it's a dangerous thing stepping out your front door - you never know where the road may lead.  Likewise, it is a dangerous thing properly proclaiming the Law -- it isn't a drive by, a scatter bombing that you unleash and then forget about.  It is the first act of a lifetime of love and service to another... and if you don't think of it as an act of love... are you really speaking God's Law, or are you simply demonstrating your own annoyance and hatred?

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