“Obedience brings blessings, and disobedience brings consequences.” -Some Pastor.
Hagee, it was Pastor John Hagee (or one of his handlers) on Twitter this morning. All in good fun here, but I often like to leave off the names to protect the guilty and the rest of the time, I honestly can’t remember who said what. But this time we have gone and caught him red handed……
Anyway, words such as those gave me a great deal of trouble for a number of years. So much trouble, I’m going to call them false words. They are completely backwards. They are simplistic and infused with parental guilt, authoritarianism, and trauma, not morality and Christian values.
Who in the Bible caught God’s attention, who was singled out as being “none so righteous in all the land?” Job! Job’s obedience brought consequences. Boils. The loss of everything he loved. It was temporary suffering, but let’s not pretend that, “obedience brings blessings.”
Doesn’t the Bible say, “the rain falls on the wicked and the good?” It does say that. In fact, the rain tends to fall on the good even harder since we’ve probably gone and given our umbrella away. Wicked people tend to not be quite so foolish…
Stephen in the Bible was obedient and he was stoned to death. Jesus must be the epitome of all sacrificial obedience unto death and beyond, and yet He was crucified. The Bible does not say, “obedience brings blessings” it says, “Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.”
Obedience actually brings consequences. I love Jesus, love the words in the Bible too, because they never lie, they never pretend. Sometimes I think I have a personal army of angels around me, Monty Python angels. Seriously, they say darkly humorous things like, well this is sure to be excruciatingly painful and cost you a bunch of friends….
The consequences of mistranslating, “you reap what you sow” and equating that with, “obedience brings blessings, and disobedience brings consequences,” is confusion, hurt, betrayal, and a kind of works based perfectionism. People even flee the faith entirely because they’ve been lied to and if they’ve been lied to about that, then what else is a lie?? It’s like, the more obedient I am the harder my life gets?? What’s with that? It’s more like pieces of me are dying….
Philippians 1:21 says rather cryptically, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” There is great wisdom there, but let’s not Jesus juke it into some kind of simplistic behavioral control having to do with simple rewards and punishments.
If, “obedience brings blessings, and disobedience brings consequences” than we’d all be living in a perfect world right now because we’re mostly incredibly selfish people who always want our darn carrot. And other people’s carrots, too! If all we had to do to receive a sugar cube was to be obedient, we’d all be obedient. Like duh, we aren’t stupid.
Also, you need to be really careful about Who exactly you are obeying. There are a lot of lost and broken people out there. “My sheep know my voice.”
Chuckling here, but how do you know you’re doing the right thing and walking with Jesus Christ? Well, because the world will often just keep handing you a crap sandwich.
Pass the mustard.