“DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” (Matt 7:23)
Or ‘Get away from me, you who participate in evil actions/plans’. (like the Psalms)
I contend one simple thing – this is what Jesus taught…this idea of practicing a ‘good way’ or a ‘wicked way’ of living (based on the Judaic idea of there being 2 paths to follow). I don’t think Jesus had much time for the practice of evil acts – or acts he deemed evil as compared with the teachings of the Torah. A good example would be his ideas on adultery, murder, and forgiveness.
This example is wrong (my mistake) – One example would be selling offerings…putting a price on animals for sacrifice (kind of like selling spirituality in some regards). (Didn’t want to remove it…I want to maintain some integrity in what was first written).
I agree with this idea – life is about standards – the development of a paradigm that the world can be seen through and imaged. I believe some actions do carry a right and wrong aspect to them…in that some actions bring about really nice things and some bring about really horrible things…in their consequences. I think humanity is aware of this – those who aren’t…psychologists have started calling them ‘psychopaths’ (or sociopaths). I think the bible is great guide for such introspection.
And this is where the gospel message shines…it allows me to have a standard of which I will ‘approve’ or ‘reject’ based on the way it hurts others or myself (ie: treat people in that manner you want to be treated…this is the law in summation). I get to have a standard in a world without one many times…I will live according to a plan of action (in my personal treatment of others and vice versa).
This idea seems to be the core reason Christians are not running to practice ‘lawlessness’ (or staying out of trouble)…whether this in plans or schemes or in simple invitations to do something questionable to their personal ethics. We are given that right to say ‘no’ or ‘get lost’ in such situations. It’s good to have choice based on some ‘rule of thumb’.
So why this point exactly? Because what seems harsh in the teachings usually isn’t…and that’s not a matter of perspective but reading more than just one line in a book.