The other day I decided to pick some cherries from the family cherry tree. It had grown to be a beast! Yet one of the things right now is that there isn’t a lot of low fruit, there’s more at the top but that’s out of reach even by ladder. I picked 2-3lbs easily, but my eye was on what was out of my grasp (the fruit is always sweeter at the top of the tree, eh?)
As I was picking cherries, the terminology that gets used quite often to describe what a person keeps in the Bible and what one takes out, that, of course, is cherry picking came to mind and so I decided to write about it.
Cherry picking is defined as “Cherry picking is the act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.” (Cherry Picking)
Every follower of Christ is guilty of cherry picking; some see verses and contort them to make the Bible and even God anti-homosexual, some used verses to condone having slaves in America, some handle poison snakes and ingest poison because they believe that if they’re faithful to God they won’t be harmed by doing either, there are some people who pick verses (and a commentary) to give weight to some form of a rapture and pre-tribulation or post-tribulation in what they profess to be “the end of days”.
I give examples of what others cherry pick from the Bible, and to be perfectly honest what I cherry pick out from the Bible are verses that describe God’s love for humanity, all of humanity, he looks at creation and he doesn’t retract his “it is good” from the creation narrative.
I also cherry pick that what caused the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah wasn’t a sin of trying to rape the “men” (angels) who came to Lot’s house, but it was their greed that destroyed them.
I don’t know what I truly believe about the nature of heaven and hell, in some ways the Bible doesn’t give too clear a picture about other and the way Christians present it sometimes leaves me bored of heaven and scared of hell, the latter from the way it was portrayed in art during the Dark Ages.
I have faith in God, I have faith in what he did through Jesus, and I have faith in the good things people do in his name.
I choose to love and leave the judging up to God.
I find comfort in verses that point to reconciliation and restoration of humanity to God, a returning to perfect shalom.
I might not read a lot of what Paul wrote but I have faith in what he said in Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” and Philippians 2:10-11 “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
I believe a handful of verses that are translated into English doesn’t cover the depth of what the Bible has to say about homosexuality, the so-called “clobber verses” are simply used as that, verses to clobber people upside the head with, which hardly seems to be anything remotely Christlike.
I believe that despite my cherry picking I need to read the Bible in context, that is, the entirety of the Bible. I haven’t read the Bible from cover to cover in a long time but I am giving much thought to doing it again, including all the boring parts as well.
There’s not going to come a time where I will have “gotten it”, that is the Bible and who God is to the fullest. Who knows? Maybe on the other side of eternity it will take me some time to “get it” still, but I am relentless; relentless about learning about God, the Bible, those who have gone before me and those in my midst. These things take a lifetime, and it is certainly is about the journey as it is about the destination.