Gray Matter

Posted: December 23, 2010 in Controversial Topics, Thoughtful thinking.

I was at work today and an interesting subject came up among the employees during a rather long gap we had in the customer line. I wasn’t present for the entire conversation as I was trying to get some extra work done and figured that what they were talking about probably was better left unheard anyways. I couldn’t help my curiosity though and decided just to listen in on a tad of their talking in between the rinse cycles of my dishwasher that I had been manning all night. This is what I heard.

They were talking about, to be put briefly, the immorality and limits of physical contact between people. What is too much, and what is considered acceptable?

They were not keeping it all within heterosexual bounds, but for this blog, let’s keep it straight. What is too much and what is OK? My first thoughts of what is unacceptable came from how I’ve been raised my whole life. I know what I think is right and wrong, and I know what grieves my conscience and what I think is alright. But not everyone is like me. My thoughts of what is morally acceptable is not everyone else’s thoughts. In fact, I think that we all, no matter how small the differences, have our own ideas of what we think is the “right” way to go about things.

After realizing this, I said, “Well it must be the individual’s own conscience to decide what is right and what is not in each situation. Everyone knows when they have gone too far and when they feel guilty for what they’ve done. It’s then that one should know.” This solution however, leaves a whole bunch of gray matter. Once again, everyone does not have the same moral standards as others. This system would leave people doing things that others would not dare and have them get away scott-free because it was within their own moral law.

So I tried to paint the whole picture black and white by saying that anything beyond a certain point is unacceptable. But who draws that line? Me? You? Something that caught my attention is that some people consider when two people passionately kiss a sensual, one might say sexual, act. If this is true, then where is the line between a greeting kiss on the cheek and that? One might point out that it is obvious in the way they are displaying it, and that I am splitting hairs. But when one makes a black and white rule, splitting hairs is necessary because black and white means absolutes. Making an absolute on physical touch is impossible. At least, in a moral sense of the word. Because if one were to say that “making out” is bad then one would have to also deny any type of kiss whatsoever because of its nature. And if one declares that kissing is bad then one would also have to rule out any type of physical touch as a type of sensual act. This is not realistic.

Finally my mind came to rest on this. I looked back at the paragraphs of thought I had put into this above and mused that it bears great similarity to the Law in the Old Testament. It was the Law that tied us down before Jesus set us free from it. People became so obsessed with the rules and the regulations that they forgot to love their Creator in the way that He wants us to. I realized that the answer to all these questions do not become clear from our own thought patterns. *Jesus came to abolish the Law in trade for a relationship with us.* And it is through that relationship with Jesus that we become more like Him in mind and spirit so that the answers are revealed to us through Him.  The closer we get to Jesus, the more we know what He wants us to know. It is because of love for Him and our want and desire to please Him that we can have peace in the things that we do, right down to our daily lives and actions. When you’re walking in His footsteps, you’ll never fall.

*This is what I wrote when I first was typing this blog, but as a knowledgeable and very perceptive fellow blogger pointed out, Jesus came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. (Matthew 5:17-18) Jesus, rather than being the Law’s replacement, correct me if I’m wrong, is the Law personified, perfected, and then sacrificed to allow a relationship between us and the Creator. So in following Jesus we are “indirectly” following the Law without placing so much emphasis on individual rules because Jesus is the Law fulfilled. There, I think I redeemed myself. Wouldn’t want any blasphemy on here.

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Comments
  1. Joshua says:

    I’ll offer a slight rebuttal to your conclusion:

    The Law was not a man-made set of ideals (at least originally) that people were obsessed with; rather, the Law was set in place by God to show that even with all those odd, bizzare, arbitrary and even pointless rules regarding every facet of life, it was still NOT possible to live up to the standard required to gain entrance to the Kingdom of God. The idea behind the Law was to show that it was absolutely not possible to come to the Father by any other means than Jesus Christ; indeed, Christ came not to abolish the law but to Fulfill it. Scripture attests that one who loves God and his neighbor has fulfilled the law in its entirety. Christ was not the destruction of the Law but rather the only one who could adhere to it and fulfill it in such a perfect way as to be legally viable for a sacrifice on our behalf that we would be justified before God.

    Now, later on, the Pharisees would go on to write many more laws and rules as a means of gaining political power over the very religious Jews…but that’s another matter entirely;) That’s my two cents, anyways.

    • That was more than a couple cents Josh. Thanks for your reply! I think you are absolutely right. Maybe I may have voiced my opinion in a way that wasn’t quite as elegant as yours. I agree with you, but I think I may have described Jesus as a replacement for the Law for lack of a better way to word it at the time. I knew what I wanted to say, I just couldn’t get it out. (I hate it when that happens).

      I will probably go back and change it now so that this comment will have absolutely no relevance whatsoever. But it is for your sake only. Thanks for the correction, I appreciate it. 🙂

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