Sunday, September 08, 2013

Why do we say, “it doesn’t matter”?

Why do we say it doesn’t matter? I imagine that is what Eve said to her snaky friend when he suggested she eat of the fruit and become like God. Eve, wondering about the one limit God had placed on her probably said, “It doesn’t matter. God is probably waiting for me to test him, and becoming like him is probably what he wants me to do anyway.” And Adam seeing Eve’s plight, must have said the same thing as he knowingly disobeyed, “It doesn’t matter.” The whole human race was affected, now for thousands of years, far more than Eve was willing to, or perhaps able to foresee. It did matter after all.

The Jewish people compiled a history of saying, “It doesn’t matter.” God would tell them to stop worshipping Baal, and they would murmur, “It doesn’t matter.” God gave them rules to follow, commandments to teach their children, and all they said was, “It doesn’t matter.” Their messiah at last did come, and their only comment, after waiting a thousand years? “It doesn’t matter.” One day soon, the Bible declares, they will mourn for him whom they pierced, and one that day, they will find that it did matter after all.

God designed marriage to be one man and one women, saying for this purpose shall a man leave his mother, and that the two will become one flesh. We today are not the first to tell God that it doesn’t matter. Civilizations buried in the ashes of history have long done the same thing, saying, “God, you are so outdated and conventional. Don’t you know it doesn’t matter?” But then we discover anew that it did matter after all.

One more drink won’t matter, whispers the small voice to the young man. After decades of having the one more drink, the young man wakes up old, bereft of all the rich promises of his aspiring youth, and he too, finds that it did matter after all.

Marrying her? What an outdated convention! The man and the woman live together, and all seems as if it might work out. But then hard times come, and one or the other decide that the relationship is over. Too bad about the kids, but they will have to figure out a way of getting by. The thought of giving myself for life to someone is just too much. But decades later, alone and senile and bereft of the very children he sired, he goes into that darkness, finding out that yes, it did matter after all.

We lie, we steal, we cheat. We think that as long as we are okay most of the time, God will overlook our little faults. We forget that we get so little recompense when we sell our integrity.
We make promises to our children. We think they won’t notice or remember our promises and so, we refuse to keep them.
We make youthful promises to ourselves that we will not compromise our ideals, but our race to senility strips those ideals one by one, and betrays us at the end.
We take that drug because it really does make us feel so good. It is just one time, and surely no one has ever felt this good before. We do not realize that we are swapping feeling for the core of who we are, and too often we slip into that night with great feeling betraying life itself.

“What does it matter” echoes its cry down the annals of history, and at each turn, people find out that it did matter after all.

Beware of the cry of today. People are told that there is a Savior, one who brings the forgiveness of God, that we might have life, have it abundantly, and have it eternally. It doesn’t matter is their cry. There is more than one way to heaven. Surely God will make an exception in my case, and will overlook my sin. After all I meant well.
But the words of Jesus ring truly, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” Do not make the mistake of telling yourself the lie. The lie has rung its way through history, and has been shown to be wrong every time. It does matter after all, and Jesus did mean what he said.

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