In a recent spiritual conversation, my friend asked, “why do religious people so often focus on the Do’s and Don’ts of their religion.” He wanted to talk about the 10 commandments and then painted me into a corner regarding the position I must take if I subscribe to those principles.
Later I thought about that “Do and Don’t” conversation and realized I focus much more on the benefits I receive from following Jesus, rather than the restrictions. Then this thought hit me, the thrust of scripture and even Jesus’s own teaching seems to be on our growth process as individuals, not putting us in penalty box. Jesus teaches us how to grow, not remain stuck.
I reflected on Jesus’s words, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” In this teaching, I see a relationship and a trajectory toward becoming better, not worse. Its an instruction, a “Do” so to speak, that helps me have healthy relationships.
I think Jesus and his friends were among the most positive people alive. No wonder the crowds wanted to be around them. No wonder salvation (wholeness) in Christ is such a welcome solution. It’s a great starting place for growth.
How do you set up conversations about Jesus? In what ways do you discuss gradual improvement as an aspect of your spiritual life?