In Albury-Wodonga, the weekly free newspapers used to include a column of reflections. They were written by local ministers, or similar (authors included a local Baha’i leader, as well as someone from the local humanist society branch). I don’t know why they stopped. Equally, I don’t know if they achieved anything!
Cleaning up my computer, I found a few of mine. In the interests of recycling, I will re-release them on this blog.
Imagine if the following law came into effect: that it is illegal to make fun of left-handed people. No more jokes about writing funny, or eating backwards, or being ‘cack-handed.’
What would happen? Two things would result, I am sure.
Firstly, the jokes would reduce. No one wants to be caught out!
Secondly, and most importantly, people would harbour a grudge about ‘lefties.’ That is, men and women may stop making fun but would still resent them. People are tenacious and hold on tightly to even the most irrational convictions.
Laws are important. I hope that Australia’s laws become better and better. But this imaginary situation illustrates the great weakness of law: it cannot change the heart.
For example, Australia has laws against racial discrimination. Yet we all know that some people still hate those of a different skin colour. That’s a good law – but the good law does not change the heart. A stony heart will remain dead and unresponsive.
There’s a mistaken idea I come across repeatedly: that Christians are all about laws. No! Christianity is about the heart of men and women. The Bible shows that God does what national laws cannot do. God can take a stony heart and give it life.
This is put wonderfully in a part of the Bible written 600 years before Jesus was born. God looked forward to Jesus and said, ‘I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from you and give you a heart of flesh.’
Where we distrust our neighbour God alone can move us to love. Where we give God himself the cold shoulder treatment God alone can bring us back to himself.
So let’s think wisely about life in Australia. Let’s support the best efforts of those who make laws. But let’s also remember that the problem of our hearts of stone can only be solved by what God does through Jesus Christ.