I've been doing accounting work long enough to know that you can make numbers say pretty much anything you want them to say. You'd think 2 + 2 = 4, but that's rarely what anyone wants to see. So, you change the timeline. Narrow the focus. Broaden the focus. Add in more variables. Select only a few variables. All the calculations are accurate and true. But the numbers will say what you want them to say.
I've voted in and helped in enough political elections by now to know you can make the candidate be almost anything you want them to be. You'd think a track record, a platform, and some pointed questions should get you pretty close to the real person, but again that's rarely what the majority of people want to see. So, you polish the platform. Tweak the track record - leave out what you don't need, and over-emphasize what may have never been important until now. You calculate each answer, and spin yourself into what everyone wants you to be.
Recently, I'm realizing that I've been a Christian long enough to know that we Christians can make the bible say just about anything we want it to say. You'd think "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength; and love your neighbor as yourself" would be pretty much infallible, but for many it's not that simple, and rarely what we are willing to commit to. So instead, we pull scripture that meets our current need, paying little attention to the context, and no attention to scripture that may disprove our theory, effectively fitting our God into the box that works for us at the time.
I know that there ARE many infallible truths in the bible. The "no questions asked", this is how it's go to be, nothing contradictory here, kind of statements. I believe in them with all of my heart.
But, this great God of ours gave us a wonderfully dangerous gift - called choice. Primarily, so we could choose to love Him - knowing that chosen love is infinitely more precious than compulsory love.
And so, even within the bible, we are given the ability, even the responsibility, to choose.
Extend grace? Luke 6:37
Or turn over the tables? Luke 19:45-46
Forgive 7 x 70? Matthew 18:22
Curse the fig tree? Mark 11:20
Or dig around it, fertilize it, and wait one more year for fruit? Luke 13:8-9
Or recognize the fruit, and the overflow of the heart, for what it is? Luke 6:43-45
Be a guest in the house of a 'sinner'? Luke 18:7
Or wipe the dust of your feet and move on? Luke 10:11
Ask Him to calm the storm? Luke 8:24
Or simply request wisdom to see it through? 1 Kings 3:9
Love those who curse you? Luke 6:35
Or cut off the hand that sins? Mark 9:42
Throw the first stone? John 8:7
Or rejoice that whoever is not against us is for us? Mark 9:40
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.
It's not always easy. But it needs to be that simple.
He has appointed me a leadership position.
With decisions to make.
Scripture is thrown at me from every side of the argument.
And the waves are high.
My boat is thrashing.
I wish the storm would miraculously subside.
Instead, I ask for wisdom.
Show me the way, Lord. A lamp unto my feet. My next step is yours.