In preparing the SS lesson for today on the sanctity of life, I became burdened for the vast majority of all people who are prisoners of one type or another. I will be expanding on this theme in the next several days.
When Jesus began his ministry, he quoted Isaiah. 61:1 which is repeated in Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, It is this message that the gospel focuses on. As you know, the word gospel means good news. The greatest news to those who are captives and are bruised would be deliverance. Jesus said in Joh 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
I have identified a number of such prisons that hold people prisoner and keep people from living the abundant life that Christ intended. I will address several of these in the next few post. So what makes something a prison? I am thinking of a poem written by Richard Lovelace in 1642 to Althea, from Prison “… Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage:” The reverse is also true, If it controls, it is a prison even if there is not walls or bars.
The first prison I will address is traditions. Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Also, in Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. Traditions offer a sense of security that sometimes blinds us to truth. It may be very difficult to break a wrong teaching if it has been held it for a long time. It makes it even harder if there is some seeming justification for it. It is much easier to go along with it even if you see that it is wrong. You can be sure that if you rock the boat, there will be some push back reaction. So you are faced with the choice to reject the error and receive the consequences or to just go along and become its prisoner. I have no way of knowing how many lives have endured the consequence of going along with what they knew was wrong but I believe that there are many who have wrecked their own lives as well as being a hindrance to others who were affected by the error.
The gospel will set men free from such a prison. Jesus said in John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. In dealing with traditions it is important to deal with issues not personalities. Establish facts, not feelings. Allow the other(s) to disagree with you if they so choose. You are not trying to change them but you are trying to establish your own way. Ask them to allow you the same freedom you give them in not making them a prisoner to your thoughts. A tradition can be good when it is founded upon truth and does not take prisoners. The good news is that a person is set free in Christ.