Is the Law a cage or a castle? My thinking is focused on the Law of Moses but I imagine my logic would apply to our civil and criminal codes also.
Much of the answer depends on our attitude.
Some look at the Law, such as the Ten Commandments, as stifling limitations on their freedom. If you limited your view of the law to the Decalogue and were a reasonable person you would have no trouble. The place where this would become an issue is in the so-called 613 Laws. I open my printout of the 613 and randomly point. I come up with a command that I leave a corner of my field uncut for the poor. Sounds like a good idea but I am not a farmer so there is no stifling going on.
I get more specific in my search and come up with, “not to plant diverse seeds together.” Now if I am a gardener I could get upset by this because many of the techniques of gardening have you planting complimentary plants together. So, if I were a farmer I start to rebel. If I am planting flowers around my house I am feeling smothered in regulations.
While you are getting all upset you might ask yourself, “Is that what the law of God really says?” Here is the verse quoted,
(Lev 19:19 KJV) Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.Notice what it actually says. It refers to sowing in the field. It has nothing to do with planting beans to climb your corn stalk or squash to grow in the shade of both. It obviously has nothing to do with your roses and carnations. You are upset about nothing. It is also possible that the interpretation you are reading is the opinion of some Rabbi about what the law says and is not really what Moses meant.
Others look at the Law as clear boundaries that are necessary for a life of purpose and joy. Lets go back to the planting seed. I am not a farmer so I don’t know what other plant you might want to mix with your wheat, maybe barley. Following this law would make your life much simpler at harvest time. The law is there to make your life simpler.
It little bit of attitude check goes a long way. It might make you open to some basic understandings that others take for granted. It reminds me of the joke that ends, “Shall we tell him where the rocks are?”
I believe that God’s purpose was the second attitude. Keep in mind that even in things like adultery, obedience will make everyone’s life better in the long run. God is trying to tell us where the rocks are.
So, do an attitude check and go for the gold. Keep in mind that you don’t earn your salvation by following the law but you definitely make life better.
homo unius libri
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