The Tension Between What Should Be and What Is

In the old TV sitcom, Cheers, there existed a dynamic tension between Sam, the owner/bartender, and Diane, the waitress. Would they become romantically involved or not?

TV writers just can’t hold dramatic tension for long, though, and eventually Sam and Diane slept together and that tension was broken. Humans, it seems, cannot live in that sort of tension.

Jesus had no problem with dynamic tension.

Andy Stanley brings up the story of the scholars asking Jesus about divorce in this week’s “Your Move” message.

The scholars wanting to test Jesus to see if he is faithful to the tradition of Moses, asks him if a man can divorce a woman. (Note: it didn’t work the other way around at that time.)

Jesus answered by asking them if they had read (a direct hit on them) that when a man and a woman marry they become one flesh that no one can tear apart.

That is the “what should be” part of the problem.

Then why did Moses give us a method for divorce? Because our hearts are hard and we fall short of the ideal.

Jesus lived comfortably with the tension of what should be and what is. He understood that people are not perfect. That’s why he brought forgiveness.

The question is, can we live within that tension? Or, are we more like the Pharisees of his day or the “church lady” of Saturday Night Live fame–people who know rules and enjoy pointing out where others fall short of perfection?

I am painfully aware of what I should be. And what I am in reality. All I can do is ask for forgiveness for the gap.

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