Acts 15:7-21 / Jn 15:9-11
There’s something of the policeman in most of us. Perhaps it comes from being given so many rules as children — and so many little “talks” from parents, teachers, and others about the importance of keeping those rules. The fact is, of course, that laws and rules can be liberating. They can make life more safe and more secure, and they can free us from having to think much about lots of ordinary things. But they can also be spirit-killers.
That was the case in the first generation of Christians, when converts from paganism to Christianity were also required to observe all the religious rules and regulations of orthodox Jews as well. It was a huge burden, under which most of Jesus’ contemporaries had been spiritually crushed or had simply given up. And it was so unnecessary, so utterly beside the point of Jesus’ teaching, which was to bond to the Lord and to one’s neighbors in self-giving love — to love as one wants to be loved.
But old habits die hard, whether they make any sense or not, and it took the Apostles awhile to see the truth. When they did see, they set out to set the people free. Isn’t that what we really want to do for one another — set one another free from the things that don’t matter, the things that can’t give us life?
Be like Jesus and his Apostles. Be a liberator, not a policeman!