“Some Terms and Conditions Apply”

Verla--head onToday I received one of those alerts on my computer that announces a software update is available to download. When I clicked on the icon to install it, a Terms and Conditions contract appeared.

You know the drill. It’s that long, incomprehensible legal document full of words like “disclaimer of warranties” and “indemnification” and sentences that start with, “By agreeing to this document, you are expressly acknowledging….” In fact, Apple has an entire website devoted to Terms and Conditions agreements for all its products– each contract available in 17 languages. How thoughtful.

I don’t speak Lawyer, but, if you’ve ever actually read one of these contracts, the bottom line is usually: If anything goes wrong, it’s probably your fault, so don’t come whining to us. And, if you digress from these terms and conditions in any way, you will be roasted on a spit in full view of your children and your First Grade teacher. (Okay, that last part may not be in the document. I was too scared to read it to the end.)

You’re then asked to “Accept” or “Reject” the terms and conditions. There’s no chance to delete paragraph 56 or to ask questions about paragraph II.3(g). Take it or leave it. Oh, and, by the way, if you don’t click “Accept?” Game over. You get nuthin’.

Despite the attitude and the fact that most of us have no clue what we’re signing, I’ve never met a single person who refused to click “Accept.” When I ask people about this, they say, “I need this product. If I have to accept these terms in order to use it, so be it.” Or they’ll say, “If the product didn’t work, people wouldn’t continue to buy it. That’s good enough for me.”

Since I’m always trying to connect the dots between real life and God, here’s what puzzles me: When the God of the universe offers a deal with much better terms and conditions than a software update, why do some people find it so hard to click “Accept?”

I picture God saying, “You know, I made this world and left you guys in charge and you made a mess of things. But I love you so much I crafted a plan to get you back on track. Since I’m holy and you’re not, it wasn’t that simple. The penalty for all you’ve done wrong was death. The only person capable of covering that big a tab was Jesus. So I sent Him to pay your debt so you and I could once again have a relationship.

“Do you know how hard it was to let Him go? I feel like shaking some of you and saying, ‘Hey, were you worth dying for? This is a big deal, okay? Who else has loved you like that? Plus, you get the Holy Spirit to live in your heart and help you live more successfully until Jesus comes back to complete My restoration plan. Plus, I’m preparing a future for you after you die, so it won’t all end here. All I ask in return is for you to accept a couple Terms and Conditions!”

I knew it. I knew there had to be a catch.

“Hear me out! All you have to do is acknowledge that you messed up and that you’d like a second chance.  And you must agree to take my offer of help and decide you want to do life differently in the future.”

That’s it?

“I even provided a book (the Bible) with a history of My plan, stories of what happened to others who accepted the offer and those who didn’t, tips for getting the most out of our relationship, and, of course, the Ten Commandments.”

There you go, God, cramping my style with impossible rules.

“It’s not that different from a computer manufacturer telling you what to do and not do to avoid crashing your computer. Following those commandments will keep your life from crashing and give you more peace than you can imagine. ”

And what happens if I don’t click “Accept?”

“Well, when you draw your last breath, it will be Game Over. That’s when the offer expires. But until then, I’ll be hovering over the Earth, looking for fresh ways to explain what I’m trying to do. You’re reading this blog, aren’t you?”

I accept, God. And thanks for not giving up on us.

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