Posts Tagged ‘boxed in’

Let me roam free. Don’t fence me in. I have to be me.

Not cats. Oh, yes, they do roam free but they know there are boundaries, and if you have ever seen a cat gravitate to a box for a good tongue-wash and a bath, you know it is because they feel secure when they are boxed in.

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We, humans, seem to despise boundaries. We want to make our own choices, and decide if the rules apply to us and our situation.

Subjectivism. It seems to be more and more the way of the world. It is what CS Lewis sadly described in his book, The Abolition of Man. He stated that in every culture and religion there exist laws that allow us to live with each other in peace and harmony. When someone steps outside of those laws’ perimeters, trouble happens. When too many people leave the secure boundaries of society, chaos occurs. That opens the door to the degradation of other humans’ rights and ironically, allows an unscrupulous person, with only their interests at heart, to step in and take control. Because deep down inside we all want some boundaries.

Most ancient cultures thought in terms of “we” not “me”. Collectivism. What one person did affected all those around him or her. “We’re all in this together.” We Christians call it the Body of Christ. And our boundaries are clearly spelled out by our Lord when he quoted the first two commandments upon which everything else depends– love God, love neighbor. (See Matthew 22:34-40).

Paul addressed this in Acts 17 to the citizens of Athens: “And he (the Lord) made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place…” God not only put Esther on earth for “such a time as these” but all of us as well, to serve Him and each other.

But, as Brandon Robbins often states in his YouTube videos, when the laws become more important than the Lawmaker, they will break down and lose their purpose. The “me” enters into the picture again way too strongly and pushes out the “we”. It is what the Sadducees and the Pharisees were guilty of doing. That is why Jesus said He came not to abolish the Law but to fufill it. To lead people back to the One who made them in the first place.

Perhaps if we once again set aside our own personal agendas, redefined our boundaries as stated in the Ten Commandments, and tried to live peacefully within them, glad for the security they provide, the world might be a better place. But then again, God granted us free will to make that decision ourselves, didn’t He?

Cats do not know who made their box. They are just grateful to find it. Let another cat intrude into the box and a few spats and hisses may occur.

We, humans, know better. Don’t we?

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A dear friend of mine, R.W. Ley, is a Christian suspense fiction author and also a public speaker. She spoke to my churchwomen’s conference over the weekend on the boxes we all carry.

Many of us use them for storage. We store not only the fond memories but the negative ones as well. You know the ones- the hurts, the grudges, the “I’ve been wronged” angers- things we can pull out whenever we need an excuse for what we are feeling or how we are acting. Some people carry them for decades. But that only weighs us down and wedges a wall between us and God’s mercy. How can we ever be healed if we are not willing to let go of all that we have stored up in our hearts?

Others use their boxes to hide in so they can barricade themselves from others so they never can be hurt again. It is the touch-me not attitude. Have you ever seen that little leaf? It grows close to the ground like a minuscule fern. Touch the leaves and they close up tight for hours.

But, God calls us to use our boxes as a platform. We need them so we can stand above whatever life throws in our direction and then bend down and help others up onto their up-turned boxes. God is in the up-turning business. It may not be pleasant to revisit all those negative things so we can toss them. It may be scary to step out of our hiding place and choose to be vulnerable. It may feel odd to be flipped around to where He can use us as a beacon to others.  It was a great talk.

On the way home, I pondered over her message about boxes.

There is one thing we must never do. Put God in a box. Just as it is wrong to harbor old feelings, or barricade ourselves from the world, or shrink from stepping up and out as a witness for His love, it is equally wrong to make God into our faulty image. We should not box in His grace with regulations and rules that keep others out of our churches or out of our lives. Too many Christians have boxed oeven other believers out on issues such as dress styles, whether or not to dance, drink wine, or how often we should take communion. Are we allowed accoustical guitars and drums in worship, or only an organ, or a piano, or no instruments at all?

We, who are supposed to be united in Christ, have segmented ourselves. The foot has been severed. So has the hand, the nose, the ears. How attractive to others is that? We push and battle for souls – no, don’t go to church over there. Open our box and come in. Their box is too confining for you, or their box is not confining enough so it might lead to sin. We will make you fit just right.

The religious authorities tried to box Jesus into their definition of a Messiah. When He did not fit, they turned away or declared him a blasphemous fraud.  God calls us to think out of the box. It is then that we can witness His miracles in our lives and the ones of those around us.  We can be vulnerable and still trust because, like an invisible and unmeasurable shield, He is our protection. Besides, what we don’t box in we have less of a tendency to hoard or claim as exlusively ours. All God has given freely we must receive, and then be wiling to share without boxing it up.

The only box we need is the one God gives us as a gift through accepting Christ- His eternal love. And that box has no boundaries.

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