Friday, March 30, 2018

Illegal, immoral, or fattening? ............. Parables 722

July 3, 2001

Don’t you love those self-sticking postage stamps? They save time. Besides, regular stamp glue tastes bad. Did you know that each time you lick a stamp, besides that bad taste you consume 1/10 of a calorie? This makes self-sticking stamps even more appealing.

Notice how many things are either illegal, immoral, or fattening? People crave relief from the pressure of so many temptations. We are glad to see more low-cal or no-cal foods, even in sour cream, candy bars and soft drinks. These guilt-free products ease the pressure we feel when stocking up on greasy hamburgers and fries — at least the drink can be non-fattening.

Maybe cities should offer “speed as you will” zones. We can now eat food without getting fat and a speed zone would offer the option to drive as fast as we want without getting a ticket. “Crime days” might be an idea too. If, for one day a year anything goes, then people could steal from their boss, cheat on their income tax, or even rob a bank without feeling any fear of getting caught.

In case it doesn’t sound like it, I am being sarcastic. Our culture seems to have the idea that we should overrule any guilt from doing what is illegal, immoral or fattening. All we need are guilt-free options, and the added plus of someone saying it’s okay to indulge.

It happens. A Sherpa guide in the docudrama “Into Thin Air” voiced his fear of what might happen because a man and woman were having an extramarital affair on Mount Everest. One American passed it off as okay by saying, “We think about these things a little differently in our culture.”

No kidding. Most North American television programs depict adultery as a normal way of life. Everyone does it and few express indignation, except of course the spouse who suffers when someone he or she loves and once trusted takes off with another person.

The realm of food and drink has one unalterable law: if we eat more calories than our bodies can use, they are stored as fat. To get around that law, we must either eat less or burn more calories. Oddly enough, some think a better solution is a pill or a food that makes fat pass through our bodies. That way, we can break the law of stored fat and eat what we want.

The realm of law and order has one unalterable law too; if civil law is not upheld, anarchy will reign, and everyone becomes a victim of those who do whatever they want. At the same time, who can say they have not bent civil law “just a little” when it suited a personal need? We want the law but we also want to declare ourselves above it when necessary.

Moral law has some unalterables too. First, it exists; it is written in our hearts. We know certain things are wrong even without the code of Scripture and the rules given by our parents. Nevertheless, everyone ignores or defies moral law at some point or other. We make excuses or rationalize our transgressions. Others try another tactic by dismissing the biblical moral law and saying Scripture is obsolete or out-dated and irrelevant. Or they burn the Bibles. Those who turn their back on moral law think themselves clever and above rules but another unalterable law exists: God sees their attitudes and actions and one day will call them to account for what they have done.

The psalmist wrote about those who turn away: “They encourage each other in evil plans, they talk about hiding their snares; they say, ‘Who will see them?’ They plot injustice and say, ‘We have devised a perfect plan!’” (Psalm 64)

Yet “the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming” (Psalm 37).

God cares about our physical condition yet likely won’t say much about licking a few calories off the back of postage stamps. Nevertheless, He has already spoken judgment on those who persist in breaking both civil and moral law.

As someone said, we can go through the supermarket of life and put whatever we want in our basket, but one day we will go through the checkout. What rings up at that till is what counts.

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