October 18, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: Rules Are Important

Rules are important. In fact, in my opinion, civilized society cannot exist without them.

However, when it comes to rules, I think we are guilty of several things.

The first being, often we don’t do a very good job of explaining them. I am reminded of a story I read about a grandson trying to “explain” the “Rules of Baseball” to his grandmother, who, by the way, knew nothing about baseball.

He said, “You have two sides – one out in the field – and one in. Each man that’s on the side that’s in – goes out. When he’s out – he comes in. Then next man goes in – until he’s out. When three men are out – the side that’s out – comes in – and the side that’s been in – goes out – and tries to get those coming – in – out.  When both sides have been in and out nine times – including the not outs – that’s the end of the game.” – (Bits & Pieces, April 30, 1992.)

Well, I don’t know about you, but had I been grandma, that certainly would have cleared it for me.  Not!!!

Secondly, we tend to complicate the rules. When the Lord led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, He knew that they would need rules to govern them. So, he sent Charlton Heston, I mean Moses, (But ain’t it amazing how much Charlton Heston and Moses look alike?) to give them the Ten Commandments.

The first five commandments deal with getting Israel out of Egypt. The next five deal with getting Egypt out of Israel. (But that’s another subject for another column.) By the time Jesus arrived on the scene, the Scribes and Pharisee’s had managed to expand the ten rules God had given – to 613!  They created 365 negative rules and 248 positive rules. To say the least, their rules produced a heartless, cold, and arrogant brand of righteousness.

Finally, either we want a personal exemption from the rules, or as a group, we choose not to enforce the rules. Now, what I’m about to say probably won’t help me win friends or influence people. It makes too much common sense for that! But I believe it’s the truth.

Follow my logic. What if America, as a whole, just decided to give personal exemptions from or not enforce any law/rule currently on the books? Naturally, chaos would ensue! Why, we could just go around willy-nilly robbing banks, murdering people, raping, plundering, and pillaging without any fear of retribution or justice. Who would want to live in an America like that? Certainly not me!

Regarding rules, I fear America has started down a slippery slope from which we will find it hard to recover. The argument rages over illegal immigration. Some cities and states have decided to become sanctuaries for illegal immigrants by not applying or enforcing federal immigration laws. The argument rages over the recreational use of marijuana.

Several states, in direct contradiction to federal laws, have passed state laws legalizing it. They are crying loudly about the US Attorney General’s decision to remove all exceptions from enforcing the laws currently on the books. And I could go on and on and on.

Dare I mention the decision being made not to enforce public decency laws, by allowing both male and female to use the same bathroom at the same time – simply because they identify as a different gender on that day? How about riots where rioters and looters are never punished? My point is this: If you don’t agree with the law, change the law.

However, until it’s changed; it is the law! And when we make exceptions for, or choose to ignore any law – we degrade every law! And besides, who gets to decide which person or segment of society gets an exemption? What happens when that exemption negatively impacts you or me?

Judges 17:6(KJV) states, “In those days there was no king (RULES) in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”  When there are no rules and we do what seems right in our own eyes, we are usually doing what’s wrong in God’s eyes!

Rules are important!

Brother Aaron

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