LIVE AND LET LIVE?
‘Live and let live’ – now that’s an old one.
No need to translate perhaps, but it can mean different things to different people
Let’s surmise. If someone wants to live with someone rather than get married – heh – ‘live and let live’?
If someone wants to follow a religion – let them get on with it as long as they don’t force it on anyone else – ‘cause live and let live’?
If someone has to break into your home to steal your cash – because they are broke – live and let live?
There seems to be the start of a moral code here doesn’t there?
The first commandment is: ‘live and let live’.
If we apply this to everyone – then everyone must take it on board as a rule of thumb, a maxim for behaviour, regardless of religion or humanist outlook.
‘Live and let live’ if your daughter decides to begin a relationship with a married man with three kids – who is 20 years older than she is. ‘Live and let live’?
Suddenly the shrug of the shoulders you gave when you heard this of a stranger’s daughter suddenly becomes a burden and a source of great parental care and concern.
You want the best for your daughter, and now that’s not as plane sailing as first envisaged.
“Live and let live”? – Don’t think so!
A moral dilemma has just arrived on your doorstep.
‘Live and let live’ – everybody do as they please?
It’s not so all inclusive as we thought. It is not some great principle that extends beyond all boundaries of religion, or moral codes that can be adopted by the peoples of the world.
It’s a lie. We can’t ‘Live and let live’. Not if it means everyone can live by their own rules regardless of the consequences.
Anarchy might just build the saying into its manifesto. It would fit there well.
“We musn’t judge”, another saying that gets heavily banded about, as a ‘live and let live’ companion.
Stop and think it over.
We can’t universalise ‘live and let live’ as some cure-all to produce a healthy society.
A serial killer who has brought heartache and misery to many families – “We mustn’t judge?”
If I have a glass of wine and give God thanks –
“Don’t judge me” – yes.
But “We musn’t judge” cannot be applied liberally to every conceivable scenario where people do wrong.
To judge can mean to ‘pass sentence on’ – God will hand out the sentences – that is not for you or I to do, in the context of a person’s behaviour, unless we are in a place appointed by the society in which we live. (e.g. Judge in the supreme court).
Some want to pass sentences on the behaviour of everyone else but themselves.
They sit as moral potentates in a superior ‘holier than thou’ mindset, that sees only the faults of others, and wants everyone to adhere to their narrow outlook on everything that comes under the heading of behaviour.
The other extreme is those who don’t live by any moral code whatsoever, and do as they please, regardless of the consequences to other people or (detrimentally to themselves, which is just as bad), after all they ‘live and let live’.
Judging is (or positively should be) understood as another word for discerning. Use discernment in all areas of life.
It means we weigh up a person’s words, attitude and behaviour, and decide if we can accept it as desirable.
The outcome that we should aim for is to still accept the person, and be willing to forgive, if they have violated the moral code against us personally. The moral code both generally accepted by society and more importantly as revealed in the Word of God.
But we all know this will only work properly if there is genuine remorse on the part of the perpetrator of the misdeed
But that we are all free to do whatever we like as a society of grown-up spoilt children, I’m afraid this idea needs a major makeover in our approach to living in community.
You know and I know it’s the implementation of the rules that is the area of most controversy.
It’s the implementation amidst the diverse and contrary opinions of all and sundry who consider that they have a better angle on the what, wherefore, and implementation of rules to live by.
That controversy and difficulty of implementation sums up the dilemma of the 21st century world.
Such a hodgepodge of ideologies, philosophies, religions, points of view, political hierarchies and so on.
The answer for me is the gospel concept of the kingdom of God. The unseen kingdom that exists in the human heart, that is established by a response to Christ’s invitation: ‘To seek first the kingdom of God…’
It’s a hidden kingdom, that is manifest in the behaviour of the followers of Christ.
Unfortunately the imperfections of we who are disciples (learners), is such at times that those who do not follow Christ, have recourse to point the finger, as we let the Saviour down, by failing to allow the kingdom principles to totally govern our behaviour.
It is however ironic that those who cry:
“Live and let live” or “We musn’t judge”, unfortunately feel justified in judging the Christian or the person who does not believe in “Live and let live”.
So they are letting “Live and let live” or “Judge not that you be not judged” have place in their thinking, except when they are judging Christians for not agreeing with “Live and let live”.
What hypocritical human beings we all are – we do not see our own contradictions. It seems impossible to escape our dilemma.
For as we would be justified in our sayings and outlooks and therefore dismissive of those who oppose our views, we find inevitably we cannot see that we break our own rules. The rules we impose on others.
So ‘live and let live’ will not work, it has no place as a principle for community living, or as a moral compass, we can all embrace.
Our western society has been built on the foundation of the ten commandments.
The gospel of the kingdom of God however has so, so much more to it than the ten commandments.
The purpose of this post is to remind us that we must seek the guidance of a higher moral code, and we are obliged to live by it to create a unified approach to a stable society.
When we are translated into the kingdom of God’s Son of love, here and now on earth, while we wait – we come into a spiritual experience ordained of God The Father, through Jesus the Son.
And only God Himself can give us the experience described as entering the kingdom of God, an experience without which the reader of this post will have a limited comprehension of what is being shared.
The biblical terminology (so abused and mis-applied to other things) – expresses it this way: ‘Except a man be born again – He cannot enter the kingdom of God’.
Live and Let live sounds good, and sounds tolerant of others.
But as a working principle it simply doesn’t work.
The subject is only touched on in this post but –
Live and let live is better replaced with –
Luke 6:31 (NIV)
31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.