Saving money is an art for me, actually. Each week, I make a list of what is on sale at each place and then carefully go through my coupon file to see if I can save even more money. I even get things FREE sometime! It is a delightful thing to save money on groceries - especially on items that I use each week anyway.
A few weeks ago, Giant had a special. If I bought $20 of a certain brand of products, then they would take $10 off my final bill. I carefully selected the products I would purchase, adding the cost of each one until I reached $20. Part of the plan was to purchase 7 boxes of Nabisco Crackers (I eat them at home and also use them for coffee hour at the church).
Prior to going to Giant, however, I stopped at Safeway where I was delighted to find a stack of coupons free for the taking. I took 4 coupons for $1 off a box of Nabisco Crackers. Geesh, I am going to save even more money, I thought to myself.
I got to Giant, put all my things on the belt, watched the $10 be taken off on the screen when all of my Kraft products had been scanned, and got in the car. I was so pleased at my savings. But, when I got home and looked at my receipt, I realized that I had not saved the $10. Somehow the $10 was not taken off at the very end - when the checkout person scanned my $1 coupons. My $1 coupons did not total to spending $20 worth of products. I was so frustrated! I then got out the advertisement and read the fine print. I read the small words that said something like "Purchase must total more than $20 after coupons are subtracted."
If I would have only read the small print!!
How often we as Christians fail to read the small print. We have gotten good at finding the words in scripture that we want to find. We can justify many a hate by picking and choosing what we want to read in the Bible. People can point to verses that state why I as a female should be silent in church. They can point to the teaching of Paul when it comes to homosexuality and cast one word of judgment upon another. There are places in the Bible that even justify the sin of slavery. Passages of scripture are used to justify our hatred all the time, in fact.
But what about the small print?
The central message of the Old and New Testaments is that we are to love God with all that we have while loving our neighbor as ourselves. While we are quick to judge others, Jesus says time and again that we are not to judge. He even says that the one who can throw the first stone is the one who is without sin which means none of us.
What might happen if all of us who are seeking to follow Jesus sought to read the entire book instead of the ones that enable us to be anything but Christlike?
I love the pin I was given at the Capital Pride Festival - the little one that reads, "Don't use religion to justify your hatred."
Try reading the small print. There's a lot more love there than we normally allow ourselves to see.