God wants us to do the right thing and to love doing the right thing! We have to want to do good, we have to like it. We should show mercy and kindness to those who wrong us. Why? Because that is what we receive from God. We have been forgiven of so much and now we get to forgive others too… and to love it. Jesus doesn’t just want our checklist of deeds done; he wants our heart in what we do.
When rules change unpredictably it becomes impossible to know what is expected of you. Travel writer, Bill Bryson, tells the story of how he found himself stuck at a domestic airport, shortly after airport security had become considerably stricter in the wake of 9/11. He was used to being able to board domestic flights without photographic identification, but this time was different. In his words…
“I need to see some picture ID,” said the clerk, who had the charm and boundless motivation you would expect to find in someone whose primary employment perk is a nylon tie.
“Really? I don’t have any,” I said and began patting my pockets, as if that would make a difference, and then pulling cards from my wallet.
He produces an expired driver’s license
“This is expired,” the clerk sniffed.
“Then I won’t ask to drive the plane,” I replied.
Finally he discovers in his luggage a copy of one of his published travel books, which has a photo of him on the cover. He hands it to the clerk with pride and relief, but the clerk checks a list of permissible ID’s and obviously this type isn’t included.
Bryson asks him “Are you seriously suggesting that I had this book printed so I could sneak onto a flight to Buffalo?”
The scene deteriorates from there, and gets multiple supervisors involved, until eventually, they grudgingly allow him on the flight, with a stern warning not to try anything that slippery ever again.
When the requirements change, or people try to make up their own rules, things can become hairy and tense in airports, and in religion. Which is why God makes sure his requirements are always crystal clear.