Day 17: Right

I watch crime dramas. Okay, I confess, I primarily watch crime dramas. I’m a junkie and it started with the original Law and Order way back in the twentieth century. You thought that was a typo, right? In almost every episode, they read someone their rights. Actually, they recite them. It seems redundant. We know they are going to read them their rights. It doesn’t lend itself to the storyline one way or another.

The suspect has the right to remain silent and they rarely exercise it. I need to ask my police officer friend if it is the same in real life. Do they actually stop talking after you read them their rights or do they spill it all just like on Criminal Minds? There have been many times in ministry when I wish we had a pastoral memorandum and I could read people their rights. What would we want to include, my dear pastor friends? Hmm?

You have the right to remain silent, but confession will heal your soul? Anything you say will be forgiven? I know this great Attorney/Counselor who can totally help you get your life together and start over?

I feel like more people should take advantage of their right to “be called children of God”. Matthew 5 is sort of a memorandum from Jesus. He tells us we are blessed as children of God and we have the right to: inherit the Kingdom of heaven, be made glad, be filled with righteousness, receive mercy, see God, be called His children, and be rewarded in heaven. These rights assume a relationship with God. One that is generous and one where we are fully invested. Our rights are a privilege and a bi-product of having hearts turned towards God.

As I read through Matthew 5 during Lent, I ask myself if I’m taking advantage of my rights as a child of God. Am I using all that I have received in Christ to make the world a better place? What about in my circle of influence? What can I do or say this week to encourage, bless, or uphold justice as a child of God?

Some of us are big thinkers and we are going to make bold moves. But some of us are overwhelmed and wonder what we could do. Let me encourage you. Don’t overthink it. You have been given the right to be called children of God. Let it flow from love and gratitude. One kind act has more ripple effects than you realize. Trust God to help you put your rights to work for His good and holy purposes.

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