Remember Romper Room? I was mostly grown up before I realized that it was a franchise show with the same format all over the nation, just with different teachers and kids. Our Romper Room had Miss Mary Lynn. Miss Mary Lynn went on to become Dr. Mary Lynn Crow, Licensed Clinical Psychologist. I always knew she had it in her.
Anyway, one of the things I remember about Romper Room was the “Do Bee” song. It contained such relevant and eloquent lyrics as “Do bee a dress yourself. Don’t bee a dress me.” In other words, it was a song for young children about what we should do and shouldn’t do. I couldn’t help but think about that song when I read today’s scripture which is Leviticus 19: 1-18. Leviticus is one of my favorite books of the Bible, in large part because so few people have actually read it, much less studied it. It says all kinds of things that people don’t realize. It also doesn’t exactly say things that some people think it does.
In this passage. Leviticus tell us that we SHALL reprove our neighbor or we will incur guilt ourselves. Really? Yes, it says we should gently and kindly point out where our neighbor is wrong and correct them. It’s Leviticus 19: 17 in case you want to go take a look for yourself. I’m pretty sure that it means that we should reprove our neighbor when they are wrong about the word of God and correct them about the law of God. Not reprove them when they mistakenly identify Andy Serkis as Patton Oswalt on the Oscar telecast or when they give their opinion on which restaurant has the best pie even though we all know it is certainly another restaurant all together.
But what do we do when someone reproves us personally or as a group who hold religious beliefs different from the reprover? Reprove the reprover? I think yes, and here is where it is important to remember that reprove has those qualities of kindness and gentleness. For example: I say, Old Chap, I feel compelled to point out that you have decided that everyone must behave as you believe. You are perfectly free to try to convince me that my beliefs are incorrect and not at all what God desires, and I am perfectly free to stay rooted in that which I already believe. You do not, however, have the right (at least in the United States of America) to force me to live my life by your religious beliefs. This is why the First Amendment to our Constitution states that “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” No member of Congress, no candidate, no president, and no judge may declare that their particular beliefs regarding their own religion maybe be forced on the rest of us who may be of another religion, or no religion, or of the same religion but who have different beliefs. This applies to all religions including Christianity.
So stop trying to cram your version of Christianity down my throat. I am a Christian and I do not believe all the same things you do and that’s my right. It’s also not between you and me. It is between God and me.
Oops, maybe I got a little off track with the kindly and gently. Sorry about that.