Beyond wrongdoing and rightdoing
“We can too easily forget that the law is more about relationships than it is rules. When that happens we’re in grave danger of keeping the rules and losing the relationship.”
“Laws can inform us but they cannot transform us. Law is a necessary stage one, but if we stay there it actually becomes a stumbling block. It often frustrates the process of transformation by becoming an end in itself. Torah, or Law, is the best and most helpful place to begin but not the best place to stay, and surely not the best place to end.
Juridically, law is an end in itself, absolutely good and necessary for social order. Spiritually, law is a means, not an end at all. What is the law really for? It’s not to make God love us. He does love us and we are powerless to change that one way or another. The purpose of spiritual law is simply to sharpen our awareness of who we are and who God is, so that we can name our insufficiency and, in that same movement, find God’s fullness. Spiritual power is the ability to influence others and events through our very being. Spirituality is a concern for our real inner Source, as opposed to any primary concern for our ‘doing’. Doing will always take care of itself when our being is right.
When telling his Jewish followers to be faithful to their own tradition Jesus strongly distinguished between essentials and non-essentials, and then pushed it even further. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus uses six repetitions of the same phrase: “You have heard it said . . . but I say. . . .” I call this the “yes/and” approach: yes the law, and there is something more, which is the real and deep purpose of that very law. Law is never an end in itself.”
Richard Rohr. Adapted
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.