Mistakes and Boundaries
Have you heard anyone say, "OK, I made a mistake. I'm not perfect?" Well, I certainly have. I've even said it myself. Romans 3:23 admits, ...For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. However, those statements call a few questions to mind: Why would God give us commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) if he knew we were incapable of keeping them? Can we consequently use our imperfections as valid excuses for continuous mistakes?
Let's think about this. Without boundaries life can be scary. Why? Because everyone would have a different set of boundaries (or moral compasses), created by humans. NEWS FLASH: Many pitfalls and complications we have with each other today are because everyone does not have the same boundaries. For example, Martha and Mary have been friends since elementary school. Now, Mary’s moral compass has always been wider than Martha’s, because hers is determined by the individuals she is with, the situation in which they are, and the condition of her finances, Therefore, Mary may feel that cursing is alright on Tuesday, because she is financially destitute, and with her BFF. However, she may feel that cursing is wrong on Sunday, because she got paid on Friday, and is surrounded by her church’s “Amen Corner.” You really do not know which Mary you will meet at which time, because her boundaries shift as her emotions, moods, and surroundings move. Martha’s boundaries (or moral compass) is guided by the Bible. So, it does not matter what day, time, or situation she is in, she pretty much acts the same. God’s word does not change. Knowing what you are going into is always safer and less frightening than not knowing. Yet, even if you are going into the unknown, if you are staying within God’s boundaries, you are still safe in his will.
So much noise is made about freedom, and equating it with
not having boundaries. Yet Galatians 5:1 (ESV) proclaims,
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and
do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 1 Corinthians
7:21-22 (ESV) teaches, For he who was called in the Lord as
a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free
when called is a slave of Christ. In simple terms: Because I
am a slave of Christ and live within His boundaries, I am
TOTALLY FREE. Deep, huh?
Now, with that cleared up, let’s address why God would give us boundaries that He already knows we are incapable of keeping. First, I think God wants to see how much we love Him; and when we love someone we show them. We will even sacrifice to make them happy. So, God wants us to show some sign and try the impossible. Secondly, and most importantly, God wants us to depend on Him. Philippians 4:13 (KJV) encourages, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Romans 8:36-37 (KJV) As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. The Message phrases Romans 8:31-39 verses like this: So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger?
Therefore, by ourselves we cannot follow the commandments, but with God we are invincible!
Finally, can we rely on Romans 3:23 to absolve us of all wrongdoing? Can we use our imperfections as valid excuses for continuous mistakes? Naw. We just said by relying on Christ we can accomplish anything. For the human errors we then make, after striving not to make them, Christ’s blood and God’s grace covers and cleans. Hebrews 10:26 (ESV) warns, For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins… Or as The Message lays it out for us, If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve learned, all we’ve been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be!
I know as humans our flesh challenges our spirits constantly. However, if we
start putting all of our faith into nourishing our spirit, we will grow stronger
and stronger in the Lord. We will then fully realize that everything God does,
even giving us boundaries, is for our betterment and not our destruction.
This is one perspective. What’s yours?