Tree of Knowledge – I know what is right and wrong, and therefore, I’m obligated to enforce that on others.
Tree of Life – I don’t have to define right and wrong for someone else because the Holy Spirit is the one that convicts. My job is just to show them the love of Jesus through my life and let him take it from there.
Which tree are we eating from? We can pursue a steady diet from the Tree of Knowledge, but that only leads to a quagmire of ever heightening religiosity. In eating of this tree, we can condemn homosexuality. But, we also have to enforce everything else that is labeled as sin.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s not delve into the Levitical law here as no Christian that I know of upholds all of those. Instead, let’s just focus on how Jesus defined the law.
Please note I’m not listing these to condemn anyone, but simply as a comparison as to how we pick only certain platforms to campaign against so we can appear more (self-)righteous by condemning someone else.
Ever had contempt or called someone fool? Then you’re under the same judgment as a murderer (Matt 5:21-22).
Is there someone angry with you that you haven’t reconciled with? Then you’re obligated, by Jesus’ definition of the law, to go and reconcile with them immediately. (Matt 5:23-26)
Ever look at someone with lust? Then you’re under the same judgment as an adulterer. Unless of coarse you’ve plucked out your eyes, then you might be okay (Matt 5:27-30).
Divorced or married to a divorcee? It would seem this is a permanent state of adultery, with the only “out” being if the spouse was cheating (Matt 5:31-32).
I think every one of us, even the most devout of Christians, falls into at least two categories here. And this is only a snippet of the law.
So what was Jesus trying to say? None of us are justified by the law, so quit throwing around condemnation as though you are (imo).
In other words, anyone you consider an enemy is automatically qualified for your most devout displays of love as exemplified by Jesus (Matt 5:43-44).
This isn’t being soft on sin. This isn’t condoning anyone’s actions. This is simply being what Jesus calls us to be—the salt and light of the world—not the salt and vinegar of religion.
Love is hard on sin because people are convicted by the Holy Spirit without us ever uttering one word of whether they are right or wrong. In fact, it removes the burden from our shoulders of having to be the judges of humanity and the definers of sin and righteousness.
There is, of coarse, discernment, but this is for our personal walk with Jesus. Again, this is not a tool of enforcement of others’ walk when they haven’t even been introduced to who Jesus really is. First, we show the love of Jesus by entering in to their life and not dropping holy hatred bombs on them from a distance. Once they know Jesus’ love, the Holy Spirit guides from there. In addition, we can’t force change and may never see growth. Again, this is where we just follow Jesus’ guidance instead of an agenda of conversion by force.
Through Jesus, we are now free to eat of the Tree of Life and stop persisting on a diet of the Tree of Knowledge.
Which tree are you eating from?