Our 3 year old trotted out into the garden straight after breakfast this morning in his wellies. As he went I noticed that he'd got them on the wrong feet. "Your wellies are on the wrong feet." I called.
"No they're not." he replied nonchalantly.
Life felt too short to continue this debate, so I let him potter off. Anyway it's partially my fault. I bought the wellies for him. They were a treat. Marvel Action Hero wellies. He told me, unprompted, that his favourite hero was The Hulk (The occasional uncanny similarity between him and his hero is another reason that I decided not to continue the welly feet debate!).
Like any sensible parent I bought the wellies with enough room for him to grow into. Well, to be honest, with lots and lots of room. The first time he wore them he ran straight out of them, leaving them neatly arranged on the hillside and him standing in the snow in his socks. They were expensive wellies! I was only trying to get value for money.
The amount of space that his feet have inside the wellies means that he doesn't feel any difference whether he has them on the right or wrong feet. He's comfortable whatever welly arrangement he chooses. And so my declaration that they are on the wrong feet is clearly ridiculous to him!
This was just the issue that I was reading about in Leviticus this morning. It's not that there are laws in Leviticus banning cross welly dressing or mixing your left and right. Rather that it deals with objective guilt and subjective guilt. Or in welly terms, your wellies actually being on the wrong feet and whether you feel that your wellies are on the wrong feet.
So Leviticus 5:17 says “If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible."
In other words, it's not what you feel about your actions that matters, but rather what God's word says about them. There is an objective right and wrong defined by the God who made and rules all things. Whether we feel it or not. This means it is possible to be objectively guilty before God but not to subjectively feel it. Presumably in Leviticus someone had to go and point out to the guilty party that what they had done or were doing was against God's Law.
This is a massive issue in our culture which has boiled right and wrong down to what feels right and wrong.
I think that it's an issue for many Christians as well, who claim that something that feels so right and loving to them, can't possibly be wrong, even if the Bible clearly teaches it is. It's the spiritual equivalent of wearing wellies that are too big. As long as they feel comfortable with what they're doing it must be right.
The problem is made worse by the fact that the one thing that our culture forbids, is the very thing that enabled the people of God in Moses day to seek forgiveness. That is for someone else to graciously tell you that what you're doing is wrong!
So the next time someone tells you that you have you're wellies on the wrong feet (so to speak!), don't reply, "No I haven't. They feel fine." Have a look at God's word and see if they're right.