In studying Jesus’ life, I’ve been struck by His autonomy. Have you ever noticed how He wasn’t beholden to anyone? Not His church, not His culture, not the scary Romans, not even His family. He could move in and out of groups, but never belong to them by accepting an obligation to behave a in the way they expected.
He talked with Samaritans, hung out with sinners, broke Sabbath traditions, forgave an adulteress, thought for Himself, and wouldn’t be quiet about injustice. I long to move that freely. I want to be true everywhere I go. Sometimes I feel like a radio. People can turn the dial until they find the station they want and that’s what I’ll be. The value our culture puts on keeping people comfortable feels like I should play to the crowd. At least a little.
I felt that pressure again when I watched the Annual Council meetings this week. Leaders of unions were disciplined for acting in accordance with their conscience and the conscience of the people they represent. This was disturbing. People in favor of the discipline made light of people’s consciences and convictions, calling them “opinions.” When we talked about spiritual abuse a few weeks ago, we talked about pushing others to behave AS IF they were convicted the way we are. I’m afraid disciplining whole sections of the church who are convicted differently than the majority is abusive. Jesus, who absolutely knows what’s right from what’s wrong, is willing to work with us patiently, over time, teaching us and growing us until we arrive at the truth as He knows it.
I was inspired by the men who stood for what they believe in the face of pressure and aspired to be like them, standing strong like Daniel’s friends who wouldn’t cave to pressure. I want to be like that and I find it difficult.
So I envy Jesus. I want to be that free.
When I look closer, I see He was free because He picked one boss (His father) so no one else could get a hold on Him. He wasn’t pulled and stretched in a hundred different directions by what fickle people wanted. And He said we can’t serve God and money, challenging us to choose. If we choose God, we will be free indeed.* Wouldn’t it be nice to have just one boss? One voice we follow no matter what the others say? So I’m pledging allegiance to God – not Adventism, not being a Carlson, not anything but God. And He’s the best boss ever.