Growing up, I looked for loopholes to get out of things I didn’t like doing. I spent more effort looking for loopholes than it would have taken me to just do the work. It’s sad to think how much time and effort each of us spend trying to avoid doing things we are responsible for. We will often wear ourselves out trying to avoid what we hate instead of doing it. My parents had to get good at closing loopholes and creative at how they explained what they wanted done, and how they wanted it done.
If you’re like me, and find yourself looking for loopholes, we are not alone. There was a guy in Luke 10 who asked Jesus, “What do I need to do to get eternal life?” (MSG) Jesus asked for his opinion, “What does God’s Law say? How do you interpret it?” He then gave the two greatest commandments (Love God and love your neighbor). Jesus said, “Good answer! Do it and you’ll live.” Verse 29 says, “Looking for a loophole, he asked, ‘And just how would you define “neighbor”?'”
Just like us, there were people this guy didn’t like. He may have had a neighbor who stayed up late and was noisy. He could have had one that didn’t care for his house or lawn. He could have had one that always got him in trouble with the HOA. Surely God’s Law didn’t mean he had to love them. He wanted a loophole to just love the neighbors he liked. I’m sure he had expended extra effort to avoid the neighbors he didn’t like, and now he wanted to justify it with God’s Law.
But Jesus didn’t play by His rules. He told the story of the Good Samaritan and asked him who was the victim’s neighbor. Jesus closed the loophole and let him know that “neighbor” isn’t defined by neighborhood, class, religion, color, or nationality. He told him to go and love everyone the same way you love yourself if he wanted eternal life. He learned a valuable lesson that day about who to love and about trying to find loopholes in God’s commands.
Which of God’s commands do you find yourself trying to find your way out of? We all have them. There are certain parts of the Bible our human nature wants to avoid doing, so we look for loopholes to get out of it. I think what Jesus did for Him is what he wants to do for us. He wants us to quit looking for loopholes to get out of our responsibilities. He wants us to trust that His way of living is the best. If we will use as much energy living His way as we do trying to avoid it, our lives and the world will get better.