Breaking the Rules
This morning I was reading in Exodus where Moses comes down from meeting with God with the famous stones inscribed with the ten commandments. If you don't know the story, Moses finds the Israelites worshiping a golden calf that they made out of their jewelry. I'm sure this was bizarre to Moses as he carried these tablets down. I can just imagine it, as he reads the first commandment that he's holding, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." I'm pretty sure they had the KJV back then.(sorry that comment was a cheap shot). Anyway, I can see him looking up at God's people not even living up to the first commandment. That must have been disheartening to say the least. So, Moses reaction is one of anger, and he actually throws the tablets down and they broke. That's the sum of the story.
This morning I was reading Exodus 34, and something struck me. Here's the passage that got my attention:
"The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke."-Exodus 34:1 (niv)
It's almost like you can hear God talking in a condescending voice as He says, "the first tablets, which you broke." It made me wonder if Moses learned a lesson in anger at the point. More importantly, it showed me something about myself. As a leader, and really as a Christ-follower, I need to be careful in how I instruct people when they are off-based in their life. I think we have a definite problem in our world with Christians going off the handle and condemning others. We are seeing abortion clinics bombed and harassed, and funerals being protested. Where's the love in that?
Of course the Bible says in Ephesians to speak the truth in love. Above every emotion that exists, I must love people no matter what. Sometimes for me to love some people, I have to avoid them, because some people just want to fight. But really, most people want to be loved, and that's a huge part of our calling as Christians.
So, as Moses comes down the mountain and sees the Israelites breaking the rules, what does he do? He literally throws down and breaks the rules. Anger is powerful, especially when we don't have a handle on it. So, the next time I see someone breaking the rules, I need to react in a way where I won't break the rules in return.