People Before Ideas!

"But Are You Straight?" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
“But Are You Straight?” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

I remember the exact moment when I realized I loved ideas more than people.

A street person came into our church looking for food. Everyone was afraid of him. He was very intoxicated. He smelled of Lysol. I was annoyed that he was drunk, and was in a hurry to get home because a severe snow storm was coming. I rushed him back out the door and told him to come back when he was sober and I’d help him then. He turned and looked at me and said, “You’ll never be a minister, the way you treated me today!” It was a prophetic pronouncement that pierced right through to the center of my heart. I went into a spiritual depression like never before, and over the weekend my life changed.

I didn’t realize it at the time because I was very young, but my hermeneutics changed at that moment. It had something to do with realizing that the law is supposed to serve people, not people the law. My ideas manifested in cruelty to people, and now I realized that my ideas were supposed to serve people. If my thoughts did not bear the fruit of love of and service to others, then they were wrong.

I decided that if an idea get in the way of serving people, set the idea aside. I also decided that if ideas cause cruelty to people, the idea needs to die.

Laws are good, and it’s good to keep them. Ideas are great, and it’s great to have them.

But always, people come first.

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