Starfleet has something called the Prime Directive. In simple language it says ‘Don’t mess in other people’s business unless they ask you to.’ I’m sure there’s a lot more to it than that, probably very official sounding verbiage that fills it out but the essence of it is very simple.
Here’s the thing about the Prime Directive. Starfleet has a lot of directives, orders, bulletins, communiqués, and so forth. But not one of them can be in conflict with the Prime Directive. And if somehow somewhere someone issues a directive that does contradict the Prime Directive everyone knows that the Prime Directive takes precedence. The Prime Directive is inviolate. The prime Directive is above all else.
Military organizations have what they call General Orders. These are orders that come from the top. They are always in effect everywhere. Subordinate organizations can have their own orders, differnet command structures can issue orders of the day but these orders cannot be in conflict with the General Orders. General Orders take precedence. They are inviolate. They are above all else.
We have our Prime Directives, our General Orders. There were ten of them but then Jesus came along and made it even simpler. He boiled it down to this: ‘Love God, love your neighbor.’ Some people tried to play semantic games with Him by asking who He considered their neighbors, assuming they could classify some people as not neighbors. Jesus told a story about someone who would be considered least likely to be called neighbor. Jesus made it clear that everyone is to be considered neighbor.
Here’s the thing about Jesus’ Prime Directives, His General Orders. You might have denominational rules. You might have a traditional point of view. You might have your own rules or perceptions or ways of doing things. But if they come into conflict with Jesus’ Prime Directives they are bogus. They cannot be authentic. They cannot be trusted to govern the way you live. Because Jesus’ General Orders take precedence. They are inviolate. They are above all else.
I was thinking about this one morning on the way to work, meditating on my profound wisdom when I noticed someone tailgating me. I hate for someone to tailgate me. So I tried all the tricks. I glared into the rearview mirror. I slowed down. I tapped the brakes. Nothing seemed to affect him. So I fell into this little fantasy. Here it is.
We got to a place where he could pass and he pulled up beside me and waved a gun at me, not pointing, just showing me he had it. I called 911, the cops got him, took him downtown, and threw him under the jail.
This was for his own good because he needed to learn not to tailgate and not to wave guns around.
This was for the good of the general public because he needed to be taken off the street.
I wanted this to happen because he was tailgating ME. He was getting into MY personal space. He was bothering ME.
What’s that? Prime Directive? General Orders? Oh. Yeah. You’re right.
It’s one thing to talk about living a Christian life. It’s another to live it.