Don’t tell my girls, but I am really not a fan of rules…especially dumb rules. I think dumb rules are made to be broken. Perhaps I am a bit strong-willed and rebellious or just smarter than the average dumb rule maker. I especially don’t care for rules that seem to just be made up to control people with no redeeming agenda. Um…don’t tell my girls because…well…this may be a genetic trait. It may be one of those generational things that is passed on.
Rule makers and rule followers probably don’t like what I said very much right now. Especially not if they are sitting in a position to lead me. I may be a loose cannon to them. I may be a bit alarming to them. What is she going to do? What if I can’t control her? What if she doesn’t do what I say? Can she be trusted?
I’m not about to go breaking a bunch of rules just because I can. I probably won’t even break your dumb rules…unless they are REALLY dumb and no one would get hurt if I did. 😉 I might go on my merry way and leave you with your rules though. I might go somewhere that has a set of rules I can live with. I might find authority to live under that is less about rules and more about relationship and love. I’ll follow some pretty dumb rules in that kind of environment.
I have been reading a book and participating in a study that has me really thinking about this whole topic on a much deeper level. It has put the topic into a relational mindset. One where rules are followed out of love and not out of duty or fear of punishment. One where obedience is based on a relationship and love and not condemnation and fear. One where punishment for sin and law breakers was paid for once and for all. The idea that I no longer have to be punished or punish someone else for their sin seems to be a tough pill to swallow…even for a rule breaker. Jesus did tell his disciples to teach them to obey all that he commanded. I still think He means for his disciples and followers to teach and obey his commands. I still think there are consequences when we don’t…but are consequences and punishment the same thing?
From the viewpoint of a confessed rule-breaker…they are not!
I break rules because I don’t want to be controlled. I follow rules because I love and/or respect the people who have made them. If I can’t live with the dumb rules that have been established…I use my freedom and dismiss myself from the authority that made up those dumb rules.
Last week I went as a chaperone on my daughters field trip. The whole day was set up to imitate the running of a city. Each student had a job, received a paycheck and had rules to follow as a citizen of that town. One of the rules was to stay off the grass. They would be ticketed if they stepped on the green carpet. I wanted so badly to go running across that strip of carpet. I wanted to help the students under my watch break the rule. I wanted to help them sneak across it just because I could. No one was going to be hurt if they stepped on the grass. It wasn’t even real grass. It was carpet for goodness sake. Don’t worry…I didn’t help them break the rule. I didn’t even encourage them to break the rule. I did observe something though.
I observed the rule followers and the rule breakers. The rule breakers had no regard for the rule makers. They had no respect. They didn’t care about the relationship with them. They didn’t care what they said or what they thought. They wanted to do what they wanted to do no matter whose feelings might be hurt. The rule followers had an underlying respect for the rule makers. They wanted to follow the rules because they cared on some level about the relationship with those in authority. They also didn’t want to suffer the consequences. They wanted the freedom that would come with following the rules.
Why didn’t I step on the grass? Was I afraid I’d be punished? No. I didn’t step on the grass because to do so would have undermined the authority of the teachers. I didn’t step on the grass because I valued their authority. I respected what they were trying to accomplish.
Why do you obey HIS commands? Do you think all His rules make sense? Do you think He has any dumb rules? I have to admit I’ve wondered about some of His rules. I questioned His authority. I’ve broken plenty of them. I break them far less today than I used to. WHY? I still have a strong will. I still battle a rebellious spirit. Sometimes I obey out of fear of Him. That is okay. That is the only fear that is actually healthy. But is that fear of punishment or is it based in love and respect for the one who KNOWS me and knows what is good for me? He has already paid the price for every sin I have ever committed and will ever commit. PERIOD. No, I obey now because I love Him. I obey now because I want to be pleasing to Him. I obey now because I want a relationship with Him…a close relationship. I obey Him now because my heart is turned towards Him.
That is what I want for my girls. I want them to obey me and ultimately Him because they love Him and me, not because they are scared I will punish them. That only sets them up to hide. That only sets them up for failure. That only sets them up for real trouble.
WOW…God really is a good parent…loving me, giving me free will, allowing my consequences, pardoning my failures and loving me some more…Who wouldn’t want to obey a God like that?