“Caesar’s”, they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Matthew 22:21 “
Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. Mark 12:17
He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Luke 20:25
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Right now we are in dispute with our government over the sum of £8.30. Not THE Government – not THE Prime Minister (10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA) – not like as in “THE Caesar” …
Or are we?
Our dispute with our Government is in its application of its legislation intended to curb fraud: the fraudulent claiming of medical prescriptions and/or dental treatment as exempt of statutory fees.
Our whole lives we have paid the prescription charge for each and every dispensed medicine prescribed by the doctor. That is over 70 (combined) years of living we have been “giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s”. And then earlier this year my prescriptions became “exempt of charge”. I turned 60 and now don’t pay for prescriptions. My wife who is not yet 60 still pays.
And so to sin.
I collected two prescriptions earlier this year – one for me and one for my wife. Our chemist is linked to our doctor. We use online ordering for repeat prescriptions and our doctor does the paperwork and our chemist does the dispensing and we simply walk into the chemist three working days later and collect a bag of stuff and pay the fee or not (along with many others doing the same thing)
Apparently, sometime earlier this year, my wife signed to say she was exempt of charges. We only found out when an official looking letter from the government arrived. It stated my wife had signed to say she was exempt when she was not. The “Prescription Exemption Checking Service” said so. And they are the Government. And they have legislation to enforce. Legislation created to curb fraudulent signing of exemption. So they have no option but to charge the prescription fee PLUS a penalty of 5x the prescription fee PLUS another £50.00 (if we do not pay the penalty charge within one calendar month). They keep saying so each time I tell them it was a mistake. And despite them also having evidence of every other prescription being paid for … All that cuts no ice.
Even though this was a simple oversight by me AND the dispensing chemist – because despite saying there was one to pay and one not – we both forgot the paying for one and not the other in the waiting – and then checking I am who I said I was – and all that routine before anything is handed over – in the confusion that always happens. Both the chemist and I forgot one lot was free and the other not. All that cuts no ice.
My wife is guilty through “joint and several” liability because I did it and she let me do it (apparently). It might be seen as revenue collection without much interest in fraud reduction. However …
Sin works exactly the same way.
And that is why I don’t like sin.
I don’t like “original sin”. I don’t like “we are but sinners saved” stuff. I don’t like “the cross” as my salvation. I don’t like “baby Jesus born to die for me”. And I don’t like that I am saved from stuff I didn’t even know I needed saving from. And I don’t like looking for sin instead of love. And I really don’t like being encouraged to look for sin so I can be forgiven of sin. I just don’t like this relationship I was taught to have with sin.
Sin is the wrong stuff to be messing about with. It is not the important part of this God stuff. All this focus on sin and forgiveness is not curbing “sin” as far as I can see – it is just “sin collection” without much interest in drawing closer to God. Just like …
This “exemption” legislation is fine.
Until revenue collection becomes the priority and complete inflexibility its application. Then it has nothing to do with fair governance and all to do with control (we have it – you don’t). Sin is like that – Control … Who has it … Who doesn’t.
And that has nothing to do with God and Love.
Which is why I look for love and not sin.
Love is worth looking for.