It’s illegal to honk your horn outside a sandwich shop after 9:00 pm if you are in Little Rock, Arkansas.
As soon as I read this, I knew it was because an angry customer had gone on a honking spree. Everyone in their right mind knows it is common courtesy not to honk your horn late at night unless it’s an absolute emergency, but this guy had his signals crossed on what constituted an emergency.
Let’s say the Apostle Paul had knocked on his window in the middle of the honking spree and asked him to stop honking.
“It’s a free country! I have a right to honk!”
“But not everything is beneficial.”
“But it’s my right!”
“But not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” *
The honker obviously didn’t see it that way, so now there’s a law about it.
And that law places limitations on the rights of *everyone* who finds themselves parked outside a Little Rock sandwich shop after 9:00 pm.
Pick your favorite crazy law and just drop it into this template.
And there are a lot of crazy restrictions right now. This is why. We were asked to consider it a temporary common courtesy to voluntarily stay home unless it was an absolute necessity. For some people, mental health issues may have made it a necessity. But for most of us…we had unexpected free time, and we wanted to exercise our rights.
Thus, the voluntary became the involuntary.
Fortunately, they aren’t permanent laws, or even strictly enforced. But do you know how to increase their intensity?
Just drop it into the above template.
“But this is for the good of the people.”
Intercession through the most effective channels is often done quietly and methodically. It mediates directly between those who need help and the ones who have the agency to provide it.
Inciting anger and indignation, on the other hand, doesn’t bear the fruit of intentional intercession. We love our rights. And sometimes this passion can cloud our thinking.
But do you know Who didn’t cling to His rights so tightly?
If you do, you know it paid off in freedom.
Not the kind of freedom that lets us do whatever we want. But rather the type of freedom that unshackles us from sin. That is, it sets us *free* from being driven to do whatever we want, even when that means not exercising our freedoms.
Because that’s the way enduring liberty is released into the world.
I recognize this is a hard teaching. It’s hard for me. I’d be surprised if it isn’t hard for you.
And we push back against hard teachings. If you push back in the comments, I just need to forewarn you that I’m not going to reciprocate. I’ll give your words their due consideration and recant my own if necessary, but I’m not pushing back.
I only ask that you please refrain from referencing Nazism. My German friends can tell you that the contexts are different on many different levels.
Jesus was no stranger to more extreme forms of government than our own. Neither was Paul. In this situation, I don’t believe that most of us are being asked to do more than we can bear. Or that we have lost the ability to intercede through efficacious channels to directly mediate between those who need help and the ones who have the agency to provide it. In these cases, our challenge is redirecting our outlet from social media to those channels.
*This conversation was borrowed from 1 Cor. 10:23-24. Be aware that the context of 1 Cor 10 is different from our own, but it reflects an underlying theological principle that I believe still applies.