Enjoy, but use your brains

In Galatians 5 from verse 19 and in Romans 1 from verse 21 a large list of sins is named that gave Christianity the image of ‘you can’t do anything fun’. Among others: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, covetousness, drunkenness, orgies, deceit.

Here the path of the church and the world divide according to the well known poster into a straight road to hell and a narrow road to your salvation. The message of this picture is: if you can control yourself you are suitable material for the Kingdom of Heaven.

If I had such a poster, I would let it slip into a waste-paper bin, because there is no bigger nonsense. The entire sermon on the mount to witch the verse about the straight and narrow (Matthew 7:13,14) is a conclusion, is a speech against hypocrites who seem to live up to the demands of the law and are proud they are the just by doing so. They walk the broad way of the law (psalm 119:1,3, 45). Would Jesus now, at the end of His speech, make a U-turn and recommend keeping the law, the easy visible, easy findable broad way of the rules? Or would he recommend the not so easy to find, not always so clear way of the heart, of the love inspired by Jesus who also calls Himself the Way and the Door?

Labels I’ve heard among Christians

* no sex allowed outside marriage, you can’t be alone with someone of the opposite sex because that brings temptation.

* no alcohol allowed, you can’t go to a pub or café because there you can be tempted to drink too much.

* you are not allowed to go to a disco, you can’t dance at all because it will cause temptation.

* you are not allowed to gamble, you are also not allowed to play card games because that will tempt you to gamble.

* you are not allowed to go to the cinema or watch TV because most of what you see can lead you into temptation.

* Be careful with what you read, what you hear and what you look at. It will influence you and before you know it you will get used to violence, drunkenness, impurity, divorce etc. and you won’t mind it so much any more.

How you can also look at it

Don’t try to fill holes with holes. Sometimes you feel lousy and you need comfort, sometimes you feel worthless and you need conformation, sometimes you feel shit and you need support, sometimes you feel empty and you need a kick. Don’t try to find the solution in the conformation of quick worthless sex, the numbing of alcohol, the daze of gambling, the spell of movies, the satisfaction of food. You really don’t feel like a better person after a weekend clubbing. Most of the time you end up with a hangover and an even more empty feeling than before because you can’t really think proud of yourself after such a weekend. Same goes for binging and gaming etc. as an escape from reality.

How may people have been vilified by the church because they weren’t able to conform to these rules, while in the meantime selfish, gready, proud, merciless people sometimes ended up in leadership positions?

I don’t know if other gods from other religions have ordered celebrations, but the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ordered His people to feast three times a year for an entire week; a liberation feast and two harvest feasts. (Exodus 23:14-16)

The first miracle Jesus did was changing water into wine. Ever wondered why the wine was gone and what would be the average state of the party-goers? Take into consideration that was expected that at this point they weren’t able to distinguish good from bad wine any more. We as good Christians would really not have added another 600 litres of wine to this (John 2: 1-11).

Jesus was the one who refused to stone a woman who was caught in adultery, something that was required by law. “Sin no more,” He said to her, but would He have stoned her if she would have done wrong again? (Johannes 8:7)

Jesus touched lepers who were highly contagious and also unclean according to the law. He ate with prostitutes, allowed them to touch Him, follow Him. When there came comments about it – because a good believer doesn’t do such things, He said He came to those who are sick (Matthew 9:9-13).

Doesn’t it matter that you sin? O yes it does, sinning to yourself destroys more than you think. You only have one lifetime and one body en sin can destroy that thoroughly. Love yourself and be careful with yourself. Try to focus on other people and what you can mean to them instead of you and how you feel. It will help putting your own needs in perspective.

Enjoy life and use your brains.