Thursday, April 5, 2012

Today, I felt like Jesus

I'm afraid I'll need a little backstory for this thought, and even so, I'm not sure it's going to mean a whole lot for other people, but I'm going to give it a shot anyhow.

I'm the go-to guy for anti-counterfeit where I'm employed, but merely saying that belies my skill level- I'm not just the expert at work who happens to have written the Operating Instructions, I'm the guy who speaks at symposiums and sits on panels at international conferences. So I'm not just someone who knows something, I'm the expert. It's also important you know that I'm not a mindless drone bureaucrat either, when I wrote our companies policy, our ironclad-legally-binding-due-process-that-must-be-followed-at-all-times-so-we-can-mitigate-the-damage-done-by-counterfeit-parts it was to help our organization, not crush it. It's a short and simple, but straightforward protocol of mostly common sense designed to make things easier for us. (I know in saying this I run the risk of sounding like I'm boasting, but I'm not, and it's kind of important to understand the analogy that's coming.)

With that said, it happened today that someone ordered some counterfeit parts, and our inspection team caught it, and quarantined it, but then the designers wanted it back, because the part was an expensive genuine (albeit used) part fraudulently sold as new and would work just fine for their internal R&D effort.
The problem was that the other branch of our organization was not about to release the parts. So to resolve the deadlock they called a meeting but it only resulted in argumentation for about 40 minutes:
Design: "We need the part, we know it's counterfeit, but the rules allow us to have the part for testing"
Inspection: "You don't get the part back the rules are clear, they are to be destroyed."

I saw immediately that the Inspection group was using the rules I wrote as a tool to brutalize the Design group, because they happen not to like them. The law was the perfect weapon to use to step on their enemies and keep them from getting what they wanted because of it's power. The document I wrote to help was being used to create haves and have-nots; it intent to help and aid had become tyrannical. I wanted to shout "No! It's not a hammer to smash people's fingers! The instructions are guidelines that exist to make it easier to do our jobs, not harder!"
Then I thought of Mark 2:23-24,27 "One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?"... And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."
And I felt as if I knew how Jesus said those words, and the compassion and love that welled up within Him at that moment.

Eventually when the Designers realized all their arguments were useless, they remembered that I was right there at the table, patiently waiting the whole time, and so out of ideas they appealed to me, "You wrote the law, are we within our rights to have the parts back for further testing?" After they had tried everything they looked at me for help. I wanted to ask them "Why didn't you just let me handle this from the beginning and let me spare you the headache?" but I didn't.
Because I knew that's how God must feel with us. Honestly, how often do we attempt the impossible things on our own strength rather than looking to Him expectantly?

"Yes" I said, skipping the lecture, "you are."
But that wasn't enough for Inspection, because to them the document, not I, had the authority.  So it did not matter when I quoted the proper OI and gave the relevant reasoning. They pretended to be the ones keeping the law, but the whole time were abusing it to the very core by tramping it's intent. 
It was well and truly infuriating. Then I suspected that was the emotion from Matthew 23:23,28 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others...So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."

And in closing let me say that this is why it's so valuable that God calls us all to our own vocations, because if we were all Pastors or sequestered theologians we wouldn't feel the same pull and power of emotions that Jesus did when He came into our ruined sinful world. So for all the times I'm tempted to wish that God had called me to ministry where I could sit and study theology all day, I can remind myself that I still do in fact get hands on experience with Scripture.

1 comment:

THEOparadox said...

Great illustration. It's amazing how legalism creeps into every facet of human society. Either that, or a carefree and liberal antinomianism. When we are angry or offended we prefer the first. When we are caught red handed we suddenly like the second. Now excusing, now condemning ... so fickle.