The Letter Of The Law

Estimated reading time: 2 minute(s)

A day or two ago, after I gave Ian some behavioral instructions, I noticed that he tends toward obeying the “letter of the law” as opposed to the heart of the instructions. Many times if I give him a positive instruction, he will do it… but in his own way. Or, if I give him some restriction or boundary, he’ll find a way to stay within the boundaries, yet really go against the heart of my instructions.

Once I noticed this the other day, I told him someday he will learn that life can not be found in skirting the border of lawfulness (I didn’t use those words), but only in understanding the heart of “the law”. Jesus said the law and the prophets can be summed up in two things. First, love God with all you are. Then he said the second is just like it, love the people around you. So basically, the heart of the law is love. Love other people, and God. That doesn’t mean finding ways to do what you want that techinically meet the “requirements”. It means obeying, or loving, in your heart.

Hmm. Jesus said, if you love me, you’ll obey my commands. Sometimes we use that to beat people over the head. “If you really love Jesus, you’ll OBEY him!” As though if you don’t’ obey (the letter of the law) then you do not love him. But if you did keep some code of law, then you obviously do. What if it just means that as we do love him (regardless of our “performance”) that will be obedience to him? As we do love him, he transforms our “behavior” from the inside. From the heart.

Does that makes sense? I thought it was a pretty neat insight into my relationship with God through a little testing of the boundaries from my seven year old son.

Thanks, Ian. 🙂

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