Faith

The Audacity of Self-Righteousness

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I don’t know how many states have “blue laws,” but certain counties in South Carolina still have them on the books. They are laws that restrict certain things that one can buy on Sundays.

In some cases, they date back literally hundreds of years, designed to be consistent with the notion that no one should work on the Sabbath. (The Christian Sabbath, that is.)

In Lexington County, for example, one can walk into a Walmart Super Center and find half of the store cordoned off. Some departments are open, others are closed. Lexington County officials are pondering doing away with the majority of the remaining restrictions on what you can buy on Sundays, according to The State in Columbia.

I left the following comment:

I really don’t think God cares what day you buy things on. There are more and more churches, in fact, who are offering Saturday evening services, which leaves Sundays open for other activities.

Who’s to say that someone who only has Sunday morning available for shopping time wouldn’t use that time to buy something for someone in need? I think God would be pretty impressed with that.

The part about Sunday morning is something that has really dawned on me recently, because on the way to church each Sunday morning, I pass a golf course on which there are always people playing. For a long time, there was this ounce of frustration in the back of my mind, because I was thinking how sad it was that they couldn’t give God a little of their Sunday morning.

Until I had something of a brain wave — I really think God sparked that particular brain wave — that these people may have already started their day with their own private worship, bible reading and prayer with God. Or they may be people who go to the Sunday evening service. Or, they may even enjoy a growing number of Saturday services that many newer Christian churches are experimenting with.

As a Christian, I’ve no right to look at them and judge them just because of what they are doing while I’m on my way to church.

Thanks to Disqus, which The State uses for its comments, I was notified that my comment had received this response:

Atta boy Patrick…don’t worry about it….it’s just one of the TEN COMMANDMENTS. Sounds like you are tuned into God pretty well.

Rudeness? Apparently from a fellow Christian?

Say it ain’t so!

So I left this response:

I’m at least tuned in enough to know that Jesus Christ Himself said that loving the Lord with all your heart AND LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF is the GREATEST commandment, and so I wonder how your response to me, sarcastic and snarky as it was, could POSSIBLY be consistent with your following of THAT particular directive.

But if not working on Sunday is that critical an issue for you, then the following assumptions MUST apply to you:

1. You do not attend church on Sunday, because doing so would mean that YOU were requiring your pastor and your church’s staff TO WORK ON SUNDAY.

2. You don’t go to any restaurant or any movie or any kind of store or purchase any kind of good or service from ANY kind of business at all, because doing so would be a case of YOU requiring those establishments’ employees to WORK ON SUNDAY.

3. You don’t leave home, because doing so would mean YOU are requiring local police and the Highway Patrol to WORK ON SUNDAY to keep you safe on the road.

4. If your house were to catch fire or if you were to suddenly take ill, you’d wait until Monday to call anyone, because using 911 or visiting a hospital would mean YOU are requiring EMS employees or hospital staff to WORK ON SUNDAY.

5. While you’re home not going anywhere, you don’t watch TV or listen to the radio, or read the paper, online or in print, because doing so means YOU are making workers in the media WORK ON SUNDAY. You don’t even subscribe to the Sunday paper, because that would mean YOU are making your newspaper delivery man WORK ON SUNDAY.

6. You sit at home in the dark and without water, too, because using electricity and water would mean YOU are making utility employees WORK ON SUNDAY.

Because if you’re expecting other people to violate the commandment to serve you, then you’re violating it yourself by sending a message to them that YOU aren’t willing to keep it holy, either.

I’m tuned in well enough to see that.

I respect anyone who’s willing to stand up for what they happen to believe in.

But so often, in doing so, they expose double standards that represent everything that’s wrong with civil discourse and, sadly, a lot of what’s wrong inside a lot of churches in this country: people expecting others to do as they say, not as they do.

How is that serving God or His kingdom?

Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.