Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Matthew 23:13
People sometimes speak about “coloring outside the lines.” This statement means that, sometimes, it is better not to stick to the status quo or the way things have always been done. People who “color outside the lines” are seen as change makers, forward thinkers, creative enthusiasts. As children, we may have been admonished to be neat and color inside the lines, but that’s not where creativity seems to come from.
Jesus asks us to stay within the lines that God draws for us. There is no line between me and you, or me and anybody else. We are all the same in God’s eyes. And if we begin to move the lines or say that this person or that person shouldn’t be inside the lines, we simply are not living the way God intends for us to live. In Matthew 11, Jesus asked John the Baptist’s followers, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see…? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces” (vs 7-8). Although the Baptist doesn’t look like other religious leaders of the time, Jesus makes it clear that John is “more than a prophet” (v.9) He is the one God has sent to prepare the way for the Son of God (v. 10).
Jesus also said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged” (Luke 6:37). The only people who ever made Jesus angry were those who insisted on drawing lines between themselves and those they somehow viewed as “other.” Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye,” Jesus said, “and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). The Lord made it clear that “to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
Lord, the lines You have drawn for us are perfect. Help us to live comfortably within them. Amen