Recently, Key Life got a message from one of the big, snarling social media dogs saying we’d violated some copyright law and needed to fix it or be cast forever into the lake of fire… or have our page suspended. I can’t remember which. Either way, it turned out there was only a toothless, wiry mutt behind that false warning.
It was an empty threat, made with no authority, meant to cause us to fearfully click on a fake link and give our autonomy over to someone who seemed to speak for the social media gods, but didn’t actually deserve our time or energy.
There’s a lot of religious people out there who want to do the same thing to you and me. They pretend to speak for God and look quite informed and authoritative. But all they’re doing is appealing to our sense of guilt (and we’ve all got guilt out the wazoo) as well as our deep longing to please God. All in an effort to get us to follow their scriptures—the crayon-scrawled rantings of control freaks who only reference God in order to control and manipulate others.
The sad thing is, most of these people are sincere. They truly think their way is God’s way. They’ve got it all figured out, and, darn it, we need to listen to them—give them control and fearfully hang on their every word. They’ll talk about money and politics and power and exactly how we should handle the minutia of everyday life the bible doesn’t even mention. (but somehow, they’ve heard from On High.)
Don’t let them do it.
Don’t be controlled by the knee-jerk fear of authoritative-sounding hoodoo. The truth is that the gospel won’t lead you toward fear. It won’t lead you into confusion. It won’t cause you to ruminate over every choice you make, or give you crippling anxiety over every mistake. The truth that God came for the least of these to make us His own leads to freedom, joy, faithfulness and, most importantly, love. Freeing love that doesn’t make sense in the world of the controller. Love that’s concerned with unlocking the cages of the imprisoned over controlling their behavior. Love that could only be explained by a God who cares for his children with a caring touch rather than the sting of a whip.