“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” ~Romans 12:1-2
We want more than anything to be in God’s holy will. We want to be holy. We want to please our Father. We want to get everything right. We want so badly to be correct. And so when we discuss divorce and remarriage or worship practices or church structures or any of the other “hot button” issues or topics, a lot of us will say “better safe than sorry.” When making decisions about behavior or practice, we’ll oftentimes employ this “better safe than sorry” mantra to guide our interpretation of Scripture and our instruction to others.
And that’s OK, if we truly understand what it means to be “safe” when we’re talking about our God and his will for his people.
Usually, “better safe than sorry” means everybody freeze! Nobody do anything! Everybody step back! And then we draw lines and develop boundaries and devise rules and make judgments. This kind of thinking dictates that we be extra-triple-careful not to offend God’s holy will and risk being damned to hell. That kind of philosophy is probably good if you’re a sky-diver or you make your living dismantling bombs. When wiring a house or feeding a lion or crossing a busy street, “better safe than sorry” makes perfect sense.
But “better safe than sorry” is no way to live in relationship with God and God’s people. Unless we’re all very clear with what exactly it means to act “safely” according to God’s economy.
Acting “safely,” according to our heavenly Father, means giving more grace and mercy, not more rules and regulations. It means more acceptance and less judgment. It means forgiveness and compassion, not lines and boundaries. If you want to be “better safe than sorry” with God, you’ll exercise more patience and understanding with your Christian brothers and sisters and do away with all prejudice and pride. Being “safe” with God means showing more love to the people you meet in the world and less attitude.
It means being like Christ.
Making up more rules and holding others accountable to those rules is something else entirely.