Suppose I’m trying to live a Christian life.
Jesus is the Word, and the Word clearly says that the most important rules in life are to love God and to love others.
Then one of [the Pharisees], which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)
I’m an abject sinner. Nonetheless, I do try to do what’s right. In fact, I’ve mostly always tried to do what’s right. Even before I turned to Christ. You see, I have an inbuilt moral compass. A God-given moral compass. God is the font of morality.
Just as we all have an inbuilt knowledge of God, so, too, we all have an inbuilt moral compass. What is a moral compass, exactly? The term ‘moral compass’ is shorthand for a set of moral sentiments, certain basic moral beliefs and the ability to engage in moral deliberation. And empathy. Hence the Golden Rule.
Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them. (ESV)
Your moral compasss is kind of like a speedometer in a car. If you’re trying to keep to the speed limit (as, of course, you should) then respect what your speedometer tells you.
We’re all supposed to have a God-given moral compass, one that points due moral north. Just in case it’s a bit broken and wavery, our parents are supposed to teach us right from wrong.
Not all parents are perfect, however. As a result of imperfect parenting, sometimes our children turn out to be gluttonous, stubborn, rebellious drunkards, who curse us.
Sometimes our children even commit heinous crimes and end up in jail.
I was in prison and you came to me. (ESV)
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them. (ESV)
As parents, we stand by our children. We love them, no matter what. At least, that’s what most parents do or would do and it’s what my moral compass tells me is how parents should treat their prodigal offspring. (I’m lucky in that my own children are model citizens. 🙂 )
But certain passages in the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament, also known as the Pentateuch) tell an entirely different story.
For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon him. (ESV)
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear. (ESV)
Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (ESV)
I wish that others wouldn’t batter me with rubble.
I was once a stubborn and rebellious son who didn’t obey the voice of his father. Had I been stoned to death with stones by all the men of the city I wouldn’t be writing this here today. Luckily all that happened was an interview with my school headmaster. Hang all the Law and the Prophets!
When my moral compass and the Torah collide, I follow Jesus.