Instead of that, try this.

All the time we hear, “Don’t do that.” It starts when we are little. I hear it by the beds of elderly people  And we hear it from God. 

At least we think we hear it from God.

When the serpent asks Eve about being able to eat from all the trees, she replies with the prohibition about the tree in the middle of the garden: ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”

God isn’t recorded as having mentioned touching the tree. And in that layering of prohibition from the very beginning, we find it easy to focus on the “Don’t” of God and adding to it.

But what if, instead of that, we tried this. We focused on what to do.

We saw that on Monday, when I talked about the way God talks about how to approach fasting, as a proactive sharing. That whole discussion about releasing people from bondage and eating with and offering hope is a way to explore what we can do instead of what we can’t.

Jesus reads from Isaiah one time a passage talking about proclaiming freedom. It got him in trouble, but that didn’t make it not true. He talks elsewhere about visiting those in prison and who are sick, feeding the hungry, taking in the homeless. Paul talks about the tensions and resolutions between the parts of the body and then says, “Let me show you a more excellent way” and then talks about love.

I think we’re pretty good at reminding people about what’s wrong. With the world, with their behavior, with structures, with groups.

But I think that there is a more excellent way of living and speaking. I think that if we, out of an abundance of love says, “Instead of that, let’s try this”, we would find fewer people hopeless.

And I’d see more healthy people in the hospital, at the request of Jesus, visiting with those who are sick.