One of the biggest lies perpetrated throughout Christendom is that God is primarily interested in our obedience. Not true. Patently false.
To say our first responsibility to God is to obey is a big fat lie and distortion of the relationship God wants with us. God’s paramount interest in us is a relationship. Didn’t Jesus say simply, “Follow me!”?
How quickly we complicate things by adding cherry-picked list of right and wrong behavior and focus our attention on that. By the way, focusing on EITHER list is still eating from the same tree – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, instead of focusing on the Tree of Life.
Let’s say that a couple is about to have their first child, and you say to them conversationally, “What is most exciting to you about having a baby?” and they answer, “Making sure this child obeys!” You’d be shocked. Really? That is the main point in having a child?
You would wisely identify that something is seriously wrong, and you would suggest they run, not walk, to a qualified therapist who could help them unravel this unhealthy obsession with power and rule.
The amazing thing about bringing a baby into the world is the new life this person gets to emerge into, and the astounding relationship we get to enjoy with them! That’s the main point. Anyone whose primary interest is that their child obey them is a narcissistic sociopath.
Do we want them to learn to heed our voice, lest they burn their hand on the stove or dart in the street and get smacked by a car? Of course! Because all of that protects them and facilitates relationship. But that is not the same as enforcing “first-time obedience” in some sort of patriarchal power structure so they know who’s boss.
Humans in their folly can be very drawn to fortifying their power this way. Some of us endured parents (or coaches, teachers, pastors) who imposed their will in the name of “obedience to authority.” And we wonder why many of us have “authority issues”? Yeah, we can stop wondering!
This path leads to death – of the soul of the one made to submit, and to the relationship itself.
God created us for community.
If we were here to be obedient, wouldn’t Jesus have been delighted with the religious leaders of his day?
They were extremely obedient, but without love. Indeed, they were the only group Jesus blasted, for their selfish, prideful and loveless focus on legalistic adherence to rules without relationship, and for marginalizing, oppressing and excluding those who did not adhere to the list.
Remember, it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Kindness is relational.
We are here on planet earth to be in relationship – with God and others. Period.
Blind obedience to parents, to a pastor, to the Bible, is not healthy. It’s idolatry.
Set your heart free… focus on relationship.
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