So many times we bemoan limits, when these same limits are the exact catalyst we need in order to focus our creativity and properly define true joy.
Ken Robinson talks about how the “limit” of the sonnet is what gave us the expression of the brilliant William Shakespeare. Now, if Shakespeare would have just beat his head against the wall and got mad at the “rules of the sonnet,” instead of first recognizing they were good and could produce great literature, we would have never even known this man.
In the same way, many times people talk about the constraints of Christianity, while never plumming the depths of the Kingdom. Their life becomes a death walk of “Don’t do this. Don’t do that.” This type of thinking is so prevalent in the flavor of our talk that I fear we know exactly what we are against, while having no clue on experienceing the joys of what we are for.
Take sex, for example. One adverse usage of sex is adultery. We are told to not even lust in our mind over someone else, yet the first thing that reigns in the mind of many is, “What! This is a terrible restriction! This is enfringing on my freedom to explore and find out who I really am!”
The problem is that we don’t see the hypocrisy in the limitation this person has just imposed also. They have chosen to believe the shallow waters of variety are better than a singular focus of deep love with one other person. They have limited themselves to thinking that the “bounds” of covenant relationship will restrain them, while not recognizing the brilliantly deep waters of commitment.
So, the issue is not “limits,” since in the matter of choosing you are always eliminating other options. The reality we must look at is the essence of the limit.
We must learn to be people who see the “limits” of the Ten Commandments as sign posts that propel us into a lifestyle of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. We must be a people who are much more acquainted with the Kingdom realities of compassion, humility, and justice. I pray we let these “limts” free us into the reality that it’s our Father’s joy to give us the Kingdom (Lk. 12:32).
I also pray the limits of the Kingdom will give us the same response as the person in this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Mt. 13:44)
Let limits produce creativity, not pessimism.