I have notices something over the past few years. Christians build fences like crazy. We are so afraid of screwing up that we give ourselves boundaries that God never gave us. God gives us boundaries, but room to move. Our fear has us giving ourselves smaller boundaries. We build a fence within a fence.
We have had this problem for a long time. In the book of Genesis, we catch a glimpse of our fence-building heritage. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'” (Genesis 3:1-3)
Earlier, God had given the command that the serpent is talking about. “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’” Nowhere in there does God say they can’t touch the fruit. Either Adam or Eve built a fence inside God’s command so they didn’t go against what he said.
All that work ended up being for nothing. They still ended up disobeying God’s command. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to do as we’re told. But I worry that if we box ourselves in too much we can easily convince ourselves that the restrictions God places on us are unrealistic. It’s where that “Christians can’t have any fun” stereotype comes from.
I think it’s time we start tearing our fences down. We need to see what God really asks us to do. Enough alienating ourselves from others; it’s no help to anyone! Time to tear them down.