Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pushing the Boundaries of Holiness

What are the boundaries of holiness?

I recently noticed young children continually pushing the boundaries of our new after-school care program. Whether it be the literal boundaries of the playground, or pushing the boundaries in behaviour, some of them were intent on witnessing our reactions. One child tried to reach up and press the lever of the outside door, so as to escape and find some new territory to play in. Another child found herself continually wanting to squeeze her way in through the door to the kitchen, knowing full well this was out of bounds.

My thought was this. How often do Christians push the boundaries of holiness? 'I wonder how far I can push it, until God will be angry at me?' Let me give you some examples:

What words can I use when speaking, that will still be ok with God, but will push the boundaries? Some would wonder whether God changes his mind on swearing today, or that some words have become progressively more acceptable to the human ear, and therefore more acceptable to God. Who do you know pushes the boundaries of swearing? One minute we say 'Ahh poo,' next minute we try 'Ahh, crap', then what about 'Ahh, sh*t' then 'Ahh, f***'... You get the point. We push the boundaries with our speech, and hope that God will still be pleased with us and still accepting of us.

What about sex? How often do new Christian couples, (dare I say, not just young teenagers, but unmarried older couples), who will push the boundaries of their relationship, and then try to justify theologically and biblically that their actions are right with God? One minute we're kissing, the next minute we're touching, the next minute... You get the point again. We push the boundaries of our sexual behaviour, and work hard to justify God's acceptance of that behaviour.

We push the boundaries in so much of our behaviour. We push the boundaries in our driving, in our eating, in our lack of church attendance, in our over indulgence of sport, or cars, or movies...

Is it time we stopped pushing the boundaries, and begin enjoying the freedom and enjoyment God has given us within God's set boundaries of holiness. We could argue about some boundaries, and some would say the boundary should be further in, or be further away, but the point is, can we just enjoy God's presence within the realms of his holiness and love?

The children enjoy their time at the after-school care, running around within the confines of the playground and multi-purpose hall. There are many children who don't push the boundaries of the program, but wholeheartedly enjoy their time within the set constructs of that program.

Let's stop pushing the boundaries of holiness.


  1. You're just proving to me that this whole 'holiness' idea is ridiculous. The definition of sin is so open to individual interpretation that it renders it as a virtually meaningless concept - you think something is sinful, someone else doesn't, you think you are holy and without sin, someone else thinks that you are a regular and habitual sinner. You have your own opinion on the naughty word list - poo is less sinful than crap, you type in f*** when eveyone knows you mean fuck (feel free to edit that for sensitive readers). What is sin, what isn't? Who determines the answer to that - just your own conscience and what you believe you are hearing from God? I challenged one of your fellow Salvo bloggers about the sins of greed and gluttony, which certainly if viewed through the eyes of a poverty stricken family in a third world country you, I and virtually everyone we know would be guilty of. He dismissed my question, saying that greed and gluttony were not things that he "wrestled with". Well that's OK then I guess, if your sin doesn't bother you then it's not really a sin is it?



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