Don’t Touch That

Don’t Touch That

When the priest has examined him, he shall pronounce him unclean. Leviticus 13:3

I grew up in an alcohol-free home. My father is a retired pastor, and my parents didn’t drink, so I was discouraged from drinking. You may find that legalistic, but I think my parents did a good job of communicating Paul’s message about Christian freedom – All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful (1 Corinthians 10:23). My parents recognized the potential dangers of drinking and so, they just avoided it altogether. I’ve always suffered from a fear of missing out though, so I had to find out for myself. I now know that there are plenty of people who can have an occasional drink without ill effects. I’m simply not one of them. Everything my parents warned me of was true. When they raised me not to drink, they were trying to protect me. Don’t touch. This could hurt you. But I didn’t listen. I had to find out for myself, and it hurt.

Every parent does the same with their children, whether it involves alcohol or not. Parents look at the world, observing those things that could hurt their children, so they teach them not to run into the street or touch a hot stove. Don’t do that. It could hurt you. This seems to be God’s message in today’s passage, in which he instructed the Israelites on a whole host of things they were to avoid. In today’s passage specifically, he taught them to avoid touching those afflicted with leprosy. Leprosy is spread by close contact with those infected with the bacteria, and so, for their own good, God taught them something about communicable diseases. Don’t touch. This could hurt you.

I found my parents rules a little stifling and overprotective, particularly when compared to the rest of the world. I see now that they were trying to protect me from myself and from that world, but I didn’t listen. I’ve done the same with God. I’ve looked at all his rules and felt that he was just trying to suck all the fun out of life. Today’s passage, however, reveals that God’s rules are designed for my benefit and protection. Don’t touch. That could hurt you. Through my addiction, I’ve learned that my way often leads to the self-destructive but that God’s way never does so. My way is disaster. God’s way is life. So, even if I don’t like all the rules, I’m learning that God, like my parents, simply desires that which is best for me. If I want to avoid hurting myself, I’d do well to listen instead of always needing to find out the painful way.

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