don’t know if you remember the show Diagnosis:
Murder, it starred Dick Van Dyke, ran for 8 seasons… well, I don’t so much
want to talk to you about the show, as talk to you about the title.
If Jesus is right, and I think he is, then…
Murder isn’t the diagnosis—only a
Adultery isn’t a diagnosis—only a
False oaths aren’t a diagnosis—only a
we’re going to go beyond symptom to diagnosis.
beyond symptom to diagnosis is an important thing, one is descriptive, the other prescriptive…
I think about all the obituaries in
this sad little town in Texas I once lived in—the cause of death in every case
was “Heart stopped.” While not untrue… maybe unhelpful.
so too, Jesus looks at the commandments—you
know, the ones that he fulfills—and suggests that the thou shall nots,
unmoored from their deeper cause, become about as useful as the diagnosis,
let’s think about these a bit.
as a rule, doesn’t come out of a vacuum, it is the ratcheted up result of
growing resentment, choosing not to reconcile.
Every insult and jape and jest and
—a step along the road to snuffing
out the life of a Child of God.
anger is a sickness, left untreated we hold hate toward another human being;
not reconciling with our neighbors, becomes natural… small murders and steps toward
for us, we are to fear and love God, so that we neither endanger nor harm the
lives of our neighbors, but instead help and support them in all of life’s
rarely start, or end for that matter, in the bedroom, and when we lead with
lust we rarely have the best interest of the other person at heart.
-And, to be clear—because some of you
out there right now are squirming,
Squirming on account of your own divorce
or for those of family members—there are times when divorce is the greater good,
sometimes the only option even, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that broken
relationship is a tragedy, and has lasting consequences for the soul, body, and
lust is a sickness, left untreated it makes marriages brittle; it transforms
people we are in relationship with, people
we love, into things, which we
for us, we are to fear and love God, so that we lead pure and decent lives in
word and deed, and each of us loves and honors his or her spouse.
it strange that in court we swear on a bible that we’re telling the truth, we
often say things like, “I swear to God,” to indicate something is true, even if
it is far fetched? We do so because the danger of spreading falsehood is
every-present… if we told the truth, and were known as being trustworthy, we’d
have no need of oaths.
falsehood is a sickness, left untreated it allows for lies and truth to be interchangeable,
for the two to be interspersed in such a way that oaths and swearing and threat
of perjury are the only way to discern if someone is lying—no one can trust
anyone else, and all the words in the world are nothing more than babble.
for us, we are to fear and love God, so that we do not tell lies about our
neighbors, betray or slander them, or destroy their reputations. Instead we are
to come to their defense, speak well of them, and interpret everything they do
in the best possible light.
these diseases dehumanize.
-You aren’t worth the time and
humility it takes to reconcile with.
-You are nothing more than a sex
object to me.
-You can’t handle the truth.
the Kingdom of Heaven, we are called to really take other people seriously.
Would you really do that to him if
you saw him as created in the image of God?
Would you really treat her like that
if she’s a beloved Child of God?
of the word disease
doing kingdom work, is hard and it is
Reconciling with someone is hard.
There are after all plenty of people out there who will gladly help you nurse a
Working on marriage and seeing your
relationship with a person as it is, can take a toll.
Speaking clear truth, even taking the time to know what the
contours of the truth are, is exhausting.
Finally, this kingdom
work is ongoing. There are no quick fixes
—while Jesus admonishes
us to go and reconcile with someone quickly, he does not say reconciliation
itself is a quick process.
We need to hold close to
our hearts the reality that these diseases are out there, and in here… and that
we’re always stumbling, we’re always susceptible to them.
I say this, not to
frighten us into paralysis, but to prepare us for temptation, and ready us to
serve our neighbor in their times of trial.