It’s That Simple, But Not Really. Wait? What?

October 4, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

I am not by nature a highly critical person.  Hmmm. Let me rephrase, I am not by nature a publicly critical person.  I will neither affirm or deny the depths of the sin that goes on in my heart.  Suffice to say, I’m glad that we don’t live in a world with those “thought bubbles” that are in newspaper comics.

However, being a teacher/pastor, I can be highly critical of the way that God’s word is taught.  It is almost impossible for me to listen to sermons anymore.  People ask me all the time if I listed to podcasts of other pastors.  I don’t very often.  I find myself too often analyzing the presentation, looking for ways I can improve or things I should avoid.  (I know. I know. That’s not good.  Noted.)

There are two things that I see, read, hear a lot–the overcomplicating of the Bible and conversely the oversimplification.  We all know what overcomplicating sounds like.  You hear a pastor or read something and you find yourself very impressed with his vocabulary, knowledge of original languages and the depth of his understanding of Thomas Aquinas.  You walk out of there thinking two things. “Hmm. I didn’t understand any of that” and  “What’s for lunch?”  This is a rant for a different day.

Today’s is about oversimplification.  This is spurred by our community group discussion last night and an email I received from someone else not in our group on another topic.

I’ll start with the email.  The basic premise was that the reason that marriages struggle is that husbands need to love their wives like Christ loves the church (Eph. 5).  They don’t because of sin.  They sin because of Satan.  Solution: don’t focus on Satan, stop sinning, start loving your wives, marriages healed. (The email also mentioned wives submitting to husbands, but the mentioning of that would derail this blog post but good.)

That approach to marriages made me think I made our Community Group lesson way too complicated.  In group, we talked about the Great Commandments.  Jesus said that the greatest commandments were loving God with all that you are, and to love others the way you love yourself.  He says that all of scripture fall under these two categories.  I could’ve shortened our discussion this way:  Whatever you’re struggling with, stop it and love God and people more.  We wouldn’t even have had to take prayer requests.  “God help us love you and others more. Amen.”

Is it really that simple? Could all marriages be saved if husbands loved more?  Are all of life’s problems solved by the Great Commandments?  Well, yes and no.  Jesus said this sums up all commands.  However, if this was all God needed to tell us, then why is the Bible so long?

Because easily stated is not the same as easily explained is not the same as easily understood is not the same as easily done.  When in reply to the Great Commandments, Jesus was asked “Who is my neighbor?” he didn’t reply by restating the two commands.  He told the parable of the Good Samaritan.  He actually spent a lot of time teaching and explaining the what and how of those two truths.

The simplest of truths are overwhelming profound and deep, and while they are easily understood on a surface level, they are limitless in their depth and application.  Teach them simply, attempt to understand and apply them deeply.


One Response to “It’s That Simple, But Not Really. Wait? What?”
  1. Jaime says:

    and this is why our CG has decided to chew on the 1st commandment for the fall semester & if it goes well, the 2nd commandment for the spring. so far, we are amazed at the depths of understanding the 1st commandment. week 1 was context for when Jesus gave the commandment. i’m pretty sure we could spend all semester just looking at the context & how that context can speak into our lives now.

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