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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Obedience as a Form of Love

If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

Obedience is rooted in love, not fear; it is activated by affection, not by force. (A Year with Jesus, Eugene Peterson, page 333).

Have you ever wondered how large a nation’s police force would have to be if every citizen lusted to disobey the law and obeyed it only when an overwhelming police presence was immediately at hand? Today I shopped at Walmart. Looking back I felt no inclination at all to shoplift even though the aisles were overflowing with merchandise. It must be noted that I had my credit cards in my pocket, so could have purchased virtually anything I saw on display. This no doubt puts me in a very different category from people who are without jobs while their families need provisions. You could also mention that security cameras these days are ubiquitous. Even so and despite all possible qualifications, it is a simple fact that if all shoppers were sharks rapaciously out to steal, business could not proceed in other than a prison commissary type of arrangement. This obvious fact proves that there are countless more honest people than dishonest ones. The deceitful, the liars, the thieves, the untrustworthy and their ilk are in the minority. It is thus simply not accurate to state that a few bad apples spoil the bunch. That metaphor does not work. Actually, a few maverick sharks comprise the better analogy. Not everyone turns into a predator simply because there are predators about. Even so there is a certain presence of state police power always necessary in the environment in order to prevent justice from becoming merely a cynical sham. If today at Walmart everybody and their brother were shoplifting and plundering to my left and right, I would either have had to leave the field or join in—there is little likelihood that I could continue on shopping in a state of abject denial.

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